Mobile phone emission modulates event-related desynchronization of alpha rhythms and cognitive-motor performance in healthy humans

Fabrizio Vecchio, Paola Buffo, Silvia Sergio, Daniela Iacoviello, Paolo Maria Rossini, Claudio Babiloni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: It has been shown that electromagnetic fields of Global System for Mobile Communications phone (GSM-EMFs) affect human brain rhythms (Vecchio et al., 2007, 2010), but it is not yet clear whether these effects are related to alterations of cognitive functions. Methods: Eleven healthy adults underwent two electroencephalographic (EEG) sessions separated by 1 week, following a cross-over, placebo-controlled, double-blind paradigm. In both sessions, they performed a visual go/no-go task before real exposure to GSM-EMFs or after a sham condition with no EMF exposure. In the GSM real session, temporal cortex was continuously exposed to GSM-EMFs for 45. min. In the sham session, the subjects were not aware that the EMFs had been switched off for the duration of the experiment. In the go/no-go task, a central fixation stimulus was followed by a green (50% of probability) or red visual stimulus. Subjects had to press the mouse button after the green stimuli (go trials). With reference to a baseline period, power decrease of low- (about 8-10. Hz) and high-frequency (about 10-12. Hz) alpha rhythms indexed the cortical activity. Results: It was found less power decrease of widely distributed high-frequency alpha rhythms and faster reaction time to go stimuli in the post- than pre-exposure period of the GSM session. No effect was found in the sham session. Conclusions: These results suggest that the peak amplitude of alpha ERD and the reaction time to the go stimuli are modulated by the effect of the GSM-EMFs on the cortical activity. Significance: Exposure to GSM-EMFs for 45. min may enhance human cortical neural efficiency and simple cognitive-motor processes in healthy adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-128
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Alpha band
  • EEG
  • Event-related desynchronization (ERD)
  • Go/no-go task
  • Mobile phone emission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Sensory Systems


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