Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Research on Wireless Radiation Exposure to the Immune System

Immunity and Electromagnetic Fields (Review paper)

Piotr Piszczek, Karolina Wójcik-Piotrowicz, Krzysztof Gil, Jolanta Kaszuba-Zwoińska. Immunity and electromagnetic fields. Environ Res. 2021 Jun 11;111505. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.111505.

Abstract

Despite many studies, the question about the positive or negative influence of electromagnetic fields (EMF) on living organisms still remains an unresolved issue. To date, the results are inconsistent and hardly comparable between different laboratories. The observed bio-effects are dependent not only on the applied EMF itself, but on many other factors such as the model system tested or environmental ones. In an organism, the role of the defense system against external stressors is played by the immune system consisting of various cell types. The immune cells are engaged in many physiological processes and responsible for the proper functioning of the whole organism. Any factor with an ability to cause immunomodulatory effects may weaken or enhance the response of the immune system. This review is focused on a wide range electromagnetic fields as a possible external factor which may modulate the innate and/or adaptive immunity. Considering the existing databases, we have compiled the bio-effects evoked by EMF in particular immune cell types involved in different types of immune response, with the common mechanistic models and mostly activated intracellular signaling cascade pathways.


Highlights

• Immune system cells are influenced by exposure to EMFs.
• EMFs might modulate effector activities of immune response.
• Bio-effectiveness is related to the frequency range of EMFs and cell types.
• Cellular changes might be enhanced by synergic effects of EMFs and other stressors.

Excerpts 

"The theoretical approaches most frequently cited in the literature are based on concepts such as resonant absorption (Blanchard and Blackman, 1994; Engström, 1996), effects on bio-molecules with magnetic properties (Kirschvink, 1992; Pall, 2013; Yamagashi et al., 1992), ionic transport (Gartzke and Lange, 2002; Panagopoulos et al., 2002) and modulation of Ca2+-dependent signaling pathways (Liboff et al., 2003; Pilla, 2012), radical pair mechanism (RPM), and reactive oxygen species (ROS) chemistry (Eveson et al., 2000; Mattsson and Simkó, 2014; Tang et al., 2016)....

Conclusions

Currently it is extremely difficult to select an intracellular mechanism that could play a dominant role in viability and/or effector activities modulation of various types of immune cells under EMF exposure in a wide range of parameters. The large number of results obtained for various EMF parameters and experimental conditions do not allow for a simple comparison of findings across different laboratories. Nevertheless, most of the studies are in agreement that:

(i) there is no generally accepted physical and/or biological mechanism of EMF action independently on type of the studies (i.e., in vivo/in vitro);

(ii) there is lack of conclusive evidence of EMF genotoxic effects;

(iii) findings concerning intracellular effects such as EMF-induced modulation of: gene expression, heat-shock proteins level, surface of cell membrane and cell morphology, signal transduction pathways, ions homeostasis and level of ROS [reactive oxygen species] cannot be excluded;

(iv) significant bio-effects are noticed for simultaneous EMF exposure with other cell stimuli (synergic effects);

(v) the response of various immune cells differs in an EMF type-dependent manner;

(vi) multidirectional research on immune cell cultures are certainly needed to be continued to understand potential risk of EMF exposure;

(vii) the influence of EMF on the innate immunity seems to be interesting issue in the context of aging process (Pawelec et al., 2020).

In summary, EMF seem to be a promising tool for modulation of various immune cell signaling pathways and immune system responses. Moreover, the studies concerning the action of electromagnetic fields alone or combined with medicaments are embedded in the mainstream of interests of EMF-related research in medicine and health care."

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Mar 18, 2020

For a list of references to EMF immune system studies published since 2000 see: http://bit.ly/saferemrImmuneSystem.

The following paper on the effects on the immune system from exposure to radio frequency radiation consists of excerpts from a research review published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2013 by Dr. Stanislaw Szmigielski. 

Reaction of the Immune System to Low-Level RF/MW Exposures

Szmigielski S. Reaction of the immune system to low-level RF/MW exposures. Science of the Total Environment. 2013 Jun 1; 454-455:393-400. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.03.034.

Abstract

Radiofrequency (RF) and microwave (MW) radiation have been used in the modern world for many years. The rapidly increasing use of cellular phones in recent years has seen increased interest in relation to the possible health effects of exposure to RF/MW radiation. In 2011 a group of international experts organized by the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon) concluded that RF/MW radiations should be listed as a possible carcinogen (group 2B) for humans. The incomplete knowledge of RF/MW-related cancer risks has initiated searches for biological indicators sensitive enough to measure the "weak biological influence" of RF/MWs. One of the main candidates is the immune system, which is able to react in a measurable way to discrete environmental stimuli.

In this review, the impacts of weak RF/MW fields, including cell phone radiation, on various immune functions, both in vitro [cell culture studies] and in vivo [live animal studies], are discussed. The bulk of available evidence clearly indicates that various shifts in the number and/or activity of immunocompetent cells [cells that can develop an immune response] are possible, however the results are inconsistent. For example, a number of lymphocyte [small white blood cells especially found in the lymphatic system] functions have been found to be enhanced and weakened within single experiments based on exposure to similar intensities of MW radiation.

Certain premises exist which indicate that, in general, short-term exposure to weak MW radiation may temporarily stimulate certain humoral* or cellular immune functions, while prolonged irradiation inhibits the same functions.


Excerpts

“Recently, Jauchem (2008) reviewed the effects of RF/MW radiation on the immune system and concluded that although both positive and negative findings were reported in some studies, in a majority of instances no significant health effects were found. However, most studies had some methodological limitations. Some changes in immunoglobulin levels and in peripheral blood lymphocytes were reported in different studies of radar and radio/television-transmission workers (Moszczyński et al., 1999).”

Immunotropic effects of RF/MW exposure in in vitro studies

“In summary, it may be concluded that non-thermal intensities of RF/MW radiation may exert certain measurable effects and shifts in physiology of immunocompetent cells, however these effects appear to be weak, inconsistent and difficult to replicate. Among other stress reactions, induction of heat-shock proteins, altered reaction of lymphocytes to mitogens, weaken phagocytosis and/or bactericidal activity of macrophages were reported after in vitro exposure of isolated cells to arbitrarily chosen conditions of the exposure (frequency and modulation of the RF/MW radiation, power density, time and schedule of exposure, etc.).

From studies performed in our laboratories (Dąbrowski et al., 2003; Stankiewicz et al., 2006, 2010) it may be concluded that in vitro effects of non-thermal RF/MWs cannot be revealed using basic tests for assessment of function of immunocompetent cells (including typical microculture of lymphocytes with mitogen stimulation) and finer techniques (e.g., immunogenic activity of monocytes (LM index), T-cell suppressive activity (SAT index) or release of cytokines in microcultures of PBMC) are required to study the effects of RF/MW exposures. Nevertheless, nothing can be concluded on thresholds of the above phenomena, their mechanisms or relevance to health risks. None of the above discussed studies provides data which can be directly or indirectly linked to cancer development (Table 1).”

Effects of in vivo RF/MW exposures on function of the immune system

“In summary, studies of immune reactions in animals exposed to MWs provide controversial results with some papers reporting no measurable response, while in others positive results were obtained. The available bulk of evidence from numerous experimental studies in vivo aimed to assess the effects of short-term and prolonged low-level MW exposure on function and status of the immune system clearly indicates that various shifts in number and/or activity of immunocompetent cells are possible. However, the results are incoherent; the same functions of lymphocytes are reported to be weaken[ed] or enhanced in single experiments with MW exposures at similar intensities and radiation parameters. There exist premises that in general, short-term exposure to weak MWs may temporarily stimulate certain humoral or cellular immune functions, while prolonged irradiation inhibits the same functions (Grigoriev et al., 2010). There exist papers which report changes in NK [natural killer] cell activity or TNF** release in MW-exposed animals, but clinical relevance or relation to carcinogenicity of these findings is doubtful.” 



[* Humoral immunity is mediated by macromolecules found in extracellular fluids such as secreted antibodies, complement proteins, and certain antimicrobial peptides.]

[** Tumor necrosis factor is a cell signaling protein involved in systemic inflammation.]

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A list of studies of the biologic and health effects on the immune system from exposure to radio frequency radiation published since the year 2000 can be downloaded at: http://bit.ly/saferemrImmuneSystem.

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Dr. Szmigielski signed the Catania Resolution in 2002:

The Catania Resolution

According to several reports, a group of scientists issued a statement on EMF at a meeting in September.

They were attending the international conference “State of the Research on Electromagnetic Fields—Scientific and Legal Issues,” organized by ISPESL, the University of Vienna, and the City of Catania. ISPESL is a technical-scientific branch of the National Health Service that advises industry on protection of occupational health and well-being in the workplace. In Catania, Italy, on Sept. 13 and 14, 2002, they agreed to the following:

Epidemiological and in vivo and in vitro experimental evidence demonstrates the existence for electromagnetic field (EMF) induced effects, some of which can be adverse to health.

We take exception to arguments suggesting that weak (low intensity) EMF cannot interact with tissue.

There are plausible mechanistic explanations for EMF-induced effects which occur below present ICNIRP and IEEE guidelines and exposure recommendations by the European Union.

The weight of evidence calls for preventive strategies based on the precautionary principle. At times the precautionary principle may involve prudent avoidance and prudent use.

We are aware that there are gaps in knowledge on biological and physical effects, and health risks related to EMF, which require additional independent research.

The undersigned scientists agree to establish an international scientific commission to promote research for the protection of public health from EMF and to develop the scientific basis and strategies for assessment, prevention, management and communication of risk, based on the precautionary principle.   https://www.bems.org/node/824 





Tuesday, June 1, 2021

5G Wireless Technology: Millimeter Wave Health Effects

Nov 14, 2018 (Updated Feb 22, 2019)

The emergence of 5G, fifth-generation telecommunications technology, has been in the news lately because the wireless industry has been pushing controversial legislation at the state and federal level to expedite the deployment of this technology. The legislation would block the rights of local governments and their citizens to control the installation of cellular antennas in the public “right-of-way.” Cell antennas may be installed on public utility poles every 10-20 houses in urban areas. According to the industry, as many as 50,000 new cell sites will be required in California alone and at 800,000 or more new cell sites nationwide.

Although many major cities and newspapers have opposed this legislation, the potential health risks from the proliferation of new cellular antenna sites have been ignored. These cell antennas will expose the population to new sources of radio frequency radiation including millimeter waves.

5G will employ low- (0.6 GHz - 3.7 GHz), mid- (3.7 – 24 GHz), and high-band frequencies (24 GHz and higher). In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has allocated “low-band” spectrum at 0.6 GHz (e.g., 600 MHz), “mid-band” spectrum in the 3.5 GHz range, and 11 GHz of “high-band” frequencies including licensed spectrum from 27.5-28.35 GHz and 37-40 GHz, as well as unlicensed spectrum from 64-71 GHz which is open to all wireless equipment manufacturers.

Prior to widespread deployment, major cell phone carriers are experimenting with new technologies that employ “high-band” frequencies in communities across the country. The “high-band” frequencies largely consist of millimeter waves (MMWs), a type of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths of one to ten millimeters and frequencies ranging from 30 to 300 GHz (or billions of cycles per second). 

The characteristics of MMWs are different than the “low-band” (i.e., microwave) frequencies which are currently in use by the cellular and wireless industries. MMWs can transmit large amounts of data over short distances. The transmissions can be directed into narrow beams that travel by line-of-sight and can move data at high rates (e.g., up to 10 billion bits per second) with short lags (or latencies) between transmissions. The signals are blocked by buildings, and foliage can absorb much of their energy. Also, the waves can be reflected by metallic surfaces. Although antennas can be as small as a few millimeters, “small cell” antenna arrays may consist of dozens or even hundreds of antenna elements.

What does research tell us about the biologic and health effects of millimeter waves?

Millimeter waves (MMWs) are mostly absorbed within 1 to 2 millimeters of human skin and in the surface layers of the cornea. Thus, the skin or near-surface zones of tissues are the primary targets of the radiation. Since skin contains capillaries and nerve endings, MMW bio-effects may be transmitted through molecular mechanisms by the skin or through the nervous system. 

Thermal (or heating) effects occur when the power density of the waves is above 5–10 mW/cm2. Such high-intensity MMWs act on human skin and the cornea in a dose-dependent manner—beginning with heat sensation followed by pain and physical damage at higher exposures. Temperature elevation can impact the growth, morphology and metabolism of cells, induce production of free radicals, and damage DNA.

The maximum permissible exposure that the FCC permits for the general public is 1.0 mW/cm2 averaged over 30 minutes for frequencies that range from 1.5 GHz to 100 GHz. This guideline was adopted in 1996 to protect humans from acute exposure to thermal levels of radiofrequency radiation. However, the guidelines were not designed to protect us from nonthermal risks that may occur with prolonged or long-term exposure to radiofrequency radiation.

With the deployment of fifth generation wireless infrastructure (aka 5G), much of the nation will be exposed to MMWs for the first time on a continuous basis. Due to FCC guidelines, these exposures will likely be of low intensity. Hence, the health consequences of 5G exposure will be limited to non-thermal effects produced by prolonged exposure to MMWs in conjunction with exposure to low- and mid-band radiofrequency radiation.

Unfortunately, few studies have examined prolonged exposure to low-intensity MMWs, and no research that I am aware of has focused on exposure to MMWs combined with other radiofrequency radiation.

Although biologic effects of low-intensity MMWs have been studied for decades, particularly in Eastern Europe, study results are often inconsistent because the effects are related to many factors including the frequency, modulation, power density, and duration of the exposures, as well as the type of tissue or cells being investigated.

Results vary across studies—MMWs have been shown to induce or inhibit cell death and enhance or suppress cell proliferation. Some studies found that the radiation inhibits cell cycle progression, and some studies reported no biologic effects (Le Drean et al., 2013)

A review of the research in 2010 noted that “A large number of cellular studies have indicated that MMW may alter structural and functional properties of membranes.” Exposure to MMWs may affect the plasma membrane either by modifying ion channel activity or by modifying the phospholipid bilayer. Water molecules also seem to play a role in these effects. Skin nerve endings are a likely target of MMWs and the possible starting point of numerous biological effects. MMWs may activate the immune system through stimulation of the peripheral neural system (Ramundo-Orlando, 2010).

In 1998, five scientists employed by U.S. Army and Air Force research institutes published a seminal review of the research on MMWs. They reported:

“Increased sensitivity and even hypersensitivity of individual specimens to MMW may be real. Depending on the exposure characteristics, especially wavelength, a low-intensity MMW radiation was perceived by 30 to 80% of healthy examinees (Lebedeva, 1993, 1995). Some clinical studies reported MMW hypersensitivity, which was or was not limited to a certain wavelength (Golovacheva, 1995).”

“It is important to note that, even with the variety of bioeffects reported, no studies have provided evidence that a low-intensity MMW radiation represents a health hazard for human beings. Actually, none of the reviewed studies with low-intensity MMW even pursued the evaluation of health risks, although in view of numerous bioeffects and growing usage of MMW technologies this research objective seems very reasonable. Such MMW effects as alterations of cell growth rate and UV light sensitivity, biochemical and antibiotic resistivity changes in pathogenic bacteria, as well as many others are of potential significance for safety standards, but even local and short-term exposures were reported to produce marked effects. It should also be realized that biological effects of a prolonged or chronic MMW exposure of the whole body or a large body area have never been investigated. Safety limits for these types of exposures are based solely on predictions of energy deposition and MMW heating, but in view of recent studies this approach is not necessarily adequate.” (Pakhomov et al., 1998)

Microbes are also affected by MMW radiation. In 2016 a review of the research on the effects of MMWs on bacteria was published (Soghomonyan et al., 2016). The authors summarized their findings as follows:

“…bacteria and other cells might communicate with each other by electromagnetic field of sub-extremely high frequency range. These MMW affected Escherichia coli and many other bacteria, mainly depressing their growth and changing properties and activity. These effects were non-thermal and depended on different factors. The significant cellular targets for MMW effects could be water, cell plasma membrane, and genome….The consequences of MMW interaction with bacteria are the changes in their sensitivity to different biologically active chemicals, including antibiotics….These effects are of significance for understanding changed metabolic pathways and distinguish role of bacteria in environment; they might be leading to antibiotic resistance in bacteria.”

Changing the sensitivity of bacteria to antibiotics by MMW irradiation can be important for the understanding of antibiotic resistance in the environment. In this respect, it is interesting that bacteria [that] survived near telecommunication-based stations like Bacillus and Clostridium spp. have been found to be multidrug resistant (Adebayo et al. 2014).”  (Soghomonyan et al., 2016)

In sum, the peer-reviewed research demonstrates that short-term exposure to low-intensity millimeter wave (MMW) radiation not only affects human cells, it may result in the growth of multi-drug resistant bacteria harmful to humans. Since little research has been conducted on the health consequences from long-term exposure to MMWs, widespread deployment of 5G or 5th generation wireless infrastructure constitutes a massive experiment that may have adverse impacts on the public’s health.

Early Russian research on millimeter radiation

Russian scientists conducted much of the early research on the effects of exposure to millimeter radiation. The U.S.Central Intelligence Agency collected and translated the published research but did not declassify it until decades later. 

In 1977, N.P. Zalyubovskaya published a study, "Biological effects of millimeter waves," in a Russian-language journal, "Vracheboyne Delo." The CIA declassified this paper in 2012. 

The study examined the effects of exposing mice to millimeter radiation (37-60 GHz; 1 milliwatt per square centimeter) for 15 minutes daily for 60 days. The animal results were compared to a sample of people working with millimeter generators.

Here is a brief summary of the paper:



   Excerpts:



The paper can be downloaded from http://bit.ly/MMWstudy1977.

Related Posts
Cell Tower Health Effects
Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity

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Following are summaries of research reviews of the effects of MMW exposure and a list of recently published studies.

Millimeter Wave Research Reviews

(Updated June 1, 2021)

Martin L Pall. Millimeter (MM) wave and microwave frequency radiation produce deeply penetrating effects: the biology and the physics. Rev Environ Health. 2021 May 26. doi: 10.1515/reveh-2020-0165.

 
Abstract

Millimeter wave (MM-wave) electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are predicted to not produce penetrating effects in the body. The electric but not magnetic part of MM-EMFs are almost completely absorbed within the outer 1 mm of the body. Rodents are reported to have penetrating MM-wave impacts on the brain, the myocardium, liver, kidney and bone marrow. MM-waves produce electromagnetic sensitivity-like changes in rodent, frog and skate tissues. In humans, MM-waves have penetrating effects including impacts on the brain, producing EEG changes and other neurological/neuropsychiatric changes, increases in apparent electromagnetic hypersensitivity and produce changes on ulcers and cardiac activity. This review focuses on several issues required to understand penetrating effects of MM-waves and microwaves: 1. Electronically generated EMFs are coherent, producing much higher electrical and magnetic forces then do natural incoherent EMFs. 2. The fixed relationship between electrical and magnetic fields found in EMFs in a vacuum or highly permeable medium such as air, predicted by Maxwell's equations, breaks down in other materials. Specifically, MM-wave electrical fields are almost completely absorbed in the outer 1 mm of the body due to the high dielectric constant of biological aqueous phases. However, the magnetic fields are very highly penetrating. 3. Time-varying magnetic fields have central roles in producing highly penetrating effects. The primary mechanism of EMF action is voltage-gated calcium channel (VGCC) activation with the EMFs acting via their forces on the voltage sensor, rather than by depolarization of the plasma membrane. Two distinct mechanisms, an indirect and a direct mechanism, are consistent with and predicted by the physics, to explain penetrating MM-wave VGCC activation via the voltage sensor. Time-varying coherent magnetic fields, as predicted by the Maxwell-Faraday version of Faraday's law of induction, can put forces on ions dissolved in aqueous phases deep within the body, regenerating coherent electric fields which activate the VGCC voltage sensor. In addition, time-varying magnetic fields can directly put forces on the 20 charges in the VGCC voltage sensor. There are three very important findings here which are rarely recognized in the EMF scientific literature: coherence of electronically generated EMFs; the key role of time-varying magnetic fields in generating highly penetrating effects; the key role of both modulating and pure EMF pulses in greatly increasing very short term high level time-variation of magnetic and electric fields. It is probable that genuine safety guidelines must keep nanosecond timescale-variation of coherent electric and magnetic fields below some maximum level in order to produce genuine safety. These findings have important implications with regard to 5G radiation.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34043892/

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Dariusz Leszczynski. Physiological effects of millimeter-waves on skin and skin cells: an overview of the to-date published studies. Reviews on Environmental Health. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2020-0056. Published online: 24 Aug 2020. 

Abstract

The currently ongoing deployment of the fifth generation of the wireless communication technology, 5G technology, has reignited the health debate around the new kind of radiation that will be used/emitted by 5G devices and networks – the millimeter-waves. The new aspect of 5G technology, that is of concern to some of the future users, is that both, antennas and devices will be continuously in a very close proximity of the users’ bodies. Skin is the only organ of the human body, besides the eyes, that will be directly exposed to the mm-waves of 5G technology. However, the whole scientific evidence on the possible effects of millimeter-waves on skin and skin cells, currently consists of only some 99 studies. This clearly indicates that the scientific evidence concerning the possible effects of millimeter-waves on humans is insufficient to devise science-based exposure limits and to develop science-based human health policies. The sufficient research has not been done and, therefore, precautionary measures should be considered for the deployment of 5G, before the sufficient number of quality research studies will be executed and health risk, or lack of it, scientifically established.

Excerpt

Therefore, the recently published guidelines by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) [103], stating that the ICNIRP proposed mm-waves radiation exposure limits are protecting users form health effects of mm-waves are only an assumption that is not sufficiently based on scientific evidence because the research on effects of mm-waves on skin has not been performed. This is why any claims, including ICNIRP’s, that the current safety limits protect all users, no matter of their age or their health status, have no sufficient scientific basis. The safety limits that are suggested to protect from health effects of mm-waves are based on scientifically unsupported assumptions as seen from the evidence presented in Tables 1– 4.


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Alekseev SI, Ziskin MC. Biological effects of millimeter and submillimeter waves. Handbook of Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (B. Greenebaum and F. Barnes, editors), 4th ed., Chapter 6, pp. 179-242, 2019, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.


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Belyaev IY, Shcheglov VS, Alipov ED, Ushakov VD. Nonthermal effects of extremely high-frequency microwaves on chromatin conformation in cells in vitro—Dependence on physical, physiological, and genetic factors. IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques. 2000; 48(11):2172-2179.

Abstract

There is a substantial number of studies showing biological effects of microwaves of extremely high-frequency range [i.e., millimeter waves (MMWs)] at nonthermal intensities, but poor reproducibility was reported in few replication studies. One possible explanation could be the dependence of the MMW effects on some parameters, which were not controlled in replications. The authors studied MMW effects on chromatin conformation in Escherichia coli (E. coli) cells and rat thymocytes. Strong dependence of MMW effects on frequency and polarization was observed at nonthermal power densities. Several other factors were important, such as the genotype of a strain under study, growth stage of the bacterial cultures, and time between exposure to microwaves and recording of the effect. MMW effects were dependent on cell density during exposure. This finding suggested an interaction of microwaves with cell-to-cell communication. Such dependence on several genetic, physiological, and physical variables might be a reason why, in some studies, the authors failed to reproduce the original data of others.


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Le Drean Y, Mahamoud YS, Le Page Y, Habauzit D, Le Quement C, Zhadobov M, Sauleau R. State of knowledge on biological effects at 40–60 GHz. Comptes Rendus Physique. 2013; 14(5):402-411.

Abstract

Millimetre waves correspond to the range of frequencies located between 30 and 300 GHz. Many applications exist and are emerging in this band, including wireless telecommunications, imaging and monitoring systems. In addition, some of these frequencies are used in therapy in Eastern Europe, suggesting that interactions with the human body are possible. This review aims to summarise current knowledge on interactions between millimetre waves and living matter. Several representative examples from the scientific literature are presented. Then, possible mechanisms of interactions between millimetre waves and biological systems are discussed.


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Pakhomov AG, Akyel Y, Pakhomova ON, Stuck BE, Murphy MR. Current state and implications of research on biological effects of millimeter waves: a review of the literature. Bioelectromagnetics. 1998; 19(7):393-413.

In recent years, research into biological and medical effects of millimeter waves (MMW) has expanded greatly. This paper analyzes general trends in the area and briefly reviews the most significant publications, proceeding from cell-free systems, dosimetry, and spectroscopy issues through cultured cells and isolated organs to animals and humans. The studies reviewed demonstrate effects of low-intensity MMW (10 mW/cm2 and less) on cell growth and proliferation, activity of enzymes, state of cell genetic apparatus, function of excitable membranes, peripheral receptors, and other biological systems. In animals and humans, local MMW exposure stimulated tissue repair and regeneration, alleviated stress reactions, and facilitated recovery in a wide range of diseases (MMW therapy). Many reported MMW effects could not be readily explained by temperature changes during irradiation. The paper outlines some problems and uncertainties in the MMW research area, identifies tasks for future studies, and discusses possible implications for development of exposure safety criteria and guidelines.


Ramundo-Orlando A. Effects of millimeter waves radiation on cell membrane - A brief review. Journal of Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves.  2010; 31(12):1400–1411.

Abstract

The millimeter waves (MMW) region of the electromagnetic spectrum, extending from 30 to 300 GHz in terms of frequency (corresponding to wavelengths from 10 mm to 1 mm), is officially used in non-invasive complementary medicine in many Eastern European countries against a variety of diseases such gastro duodenal ulcers, cardiovascular disorders, traumatism and tumor. On the other hand, besides technological applications in traffic and military systems, in the near future MMW will also find applications in high resolution and high-speed wireless communication technology. This has led to restoring interest in research on MMW induced biological effects. In this review emphasis has been given to the MMW-induced effects on cell membranes that are considered the major target for the interaction between MMW and biological systems.


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Ryan KL, D'Andrea JA, Jauchem JR, Mason PA. Radio frequency radiation of millimeter wave length: potential occupational safety issues relating to surface heating.  Health Phys. 2000; 78(2):170-81.

Abstract

Currently, technology is being developed that makes use of the millimeter wave (MMW) range (30-300 GHz) of the radio frequency region of the electromagnetic spectrum. As more and more systems come on line and are used in everyday applications, the possibility of inadvertent exposure of personnel to MMWs increases. To date, there has been no published discussion regarding the health effects of MMWs; this review attempts to fill that void. Because of the shallow depth of penetration, the energy and, therefore, heat associated with MMWs will be deposited within the first 1-2 mm of human skin. MMWs have been used in states of the former Soviet Union to provide therapeutic benefit in a number of diverse disease states, including skin disorders, gastric ulcers, heart disease and cancer. Conversely, the possibility exists that hazards might be associated with accidental overexposure to MMWs. This review attempts to critically analyze the likelihood of such acute effects as burn and eye damage, as well as potential long-term effects, including cancer.


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Soghomonyan D, Trchounian K, Trchounian A. Millimeter waves or extremely high frequency electromagnetic fields in the environment: what are their effects on bacteria? Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2016; 100(11):4761-71. doi: 10.1007/s00253-016-7538-0.

Abstract

Millimeter waves (MMW) or electromagnetic fields of extremely high frequencies at low intensity is a new environmental factor, the level of which is increased as technology advance. It is of interest that bacteria and other cells might communicate with each other by electromagnetic field of sub-extremely high frequency range. These MMW affected Escherichia coli and many other bacteria, mainly depressing their growth and changing properties and activity. These effects were non-thermal and depended on different factors. The significant cellular targets for MMW effects could be water, cell plasma membrane, and genome. The model for the MMW interaction with bacteria is suggested; a role of the membrane-associated proton FOF1-ATPase, key enzyme of bioenergetic relevance, is proposed. The consequences of MMW interaction with bacteria are the changes in their sensitivity to different biologically active chemicals, including antibiotics. Novel data on MMW effects on bacteria and their sensitivity to different antibiotics are presented and discussed; the combined action of MMW and antibiotics resulted with more strong effects. These effects are of significance for understanding changed metabolic pathways and distinguish role of bacteria in environment; they might be leading to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. The effects might have applications in the development of technique, therapeutic practices, and food protection technology.


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Torgomyan H, Trchounian A. Bactericidal effects of low-intensity extremely high frequency electromagnetic field: an overview with phenomenon, mechanisms, targets and consequences. Crit Rev Microbiol. 2013; 39(1):102-11.

Abstract

Low-intensity electromagnetic field (EMF) of extremely high frequencies is a widespread environmental factor. This field is used in telecommunication systems, therapeutic practices and food protection. Particularly, in medicine and food industries EMF is used for its bactericidal effects. The significant targets of cellular mechanisms for EMF effects at resonant frequencies in bacteria could be water (H2O), cell membrane and genome. The changes in H2O cluster structure and properties might be leading to increase of chemical activity or hydration of proteins and other cellular structures. These effects are likely to be specific and long-term. Moreover, cell membrane with its surface characteristics, substance transport and energy-conversing processes is also altered. Then, the genome is affected because the conformational changes in DNA and the transition of bacterial pro-phages from lysogenic to lytic state have been detected. The consequences for EMF interaction with bacteria are the changes in their sensitivity to different chemicals, including antibiotics. These effects are important to understand distinguishing role of bacteria in environment, leading to changed metabolic pathways in bacteria and their antibiotic resistance. This EMF may also affect the cell-to-cell interactions in bacterial populations, since bacteria might interact with each other through EMF of sub-extremely high frequency range.


Betskii OV Devyatkov ND, Kislov VV. Low intensity millimeter waves in medicine and biology. Crit Rev Biomed Eng. 2000;28(1-2):247-68. 

Abstract

This paper provides evidence on the interaction of objects. Basic regularities of that interaction are discussed.

Conclusions 

Summarizing the results of the 30-year study of biological effects of low-intensity MM waves, we may ascertain the following. As it often happens, applied research and commercialization have outdistanced fundamental investigations. The wide application of MM waves in medicine, biotechnology, animal husbandry, and plant cultivation has taken a giant step forward. By this time, Russia has manufactured more than 10,000 MM-wave therapy devices, organized more than 2,500 MM-wave therapy rooms, and treated over 2,500,000 patients....

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10999395 

Open access version of paper: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d0f5/d75d92b7fb8f4d13ae5461e26afa62e87e60.pdf

See also: 

May EC, Faith LV. The effects of electromagnetic radiation on biological systems: Current status in the former Soviet Union. Science Applications International Corporation. Presented to US Government, Feb 26, 1993. Approved for release by US Central Intelligence Agency, Aug 10, 2000. https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP96-00792R000100070001-9.pdf 

Recent Millimeter Wave Studies
(Updated: July 11, 2021)

Banday Y, Rather GM, Begh Gh R. Effect of atmospheric absorption on millimetre wave frequencies for 5G cellular networks. IET Commun. 2019. 13(3):265-270. https://doi.org/10.1049/iet-com.2018.5044

Bantysh BB, Krylov AY, Subbotina TI, et al. Peculiar effects of electromagnetic millimeter waves on tumor development in BALB/c mice. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2018 Sep;165(5):692-694. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30225701

Christ A, Samaras T, Neufeld E, Kuster N. RF-induced temperature increase in a stratified model of the skin for plane-wave exposure at 6-100 GHz. Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2020 Jan 16. pii: ncz293. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncz293. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31950182 

Dilli R. Implications of mmWave radiation on human health: State of the art threshold levels. IEEE Access. 18 January 2021. doi:  10.1109/ACCESS.2021.3052387.  https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9328127

Foster KR, Ziskin MC, Balzano Q. Thermal response of human skin to microwave energy: A critical review. Health Phys. 2016; 111(6):528-541. (Note: This work was sponsored by the Mobile Manufacturers Forum. The authors state that MMF had no control over the contents.)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27798477

Gajda GB, Lemay E, Paradis J. Model of Steady-state Temperature Rise in Multilayer Tissues Due to Narrow-beam Millimeter-wave Radiofrequency Field Exposure. Health Phys. 2019 Feb 15. doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000001036.  https://insights.ovid.com/pubmed?pmid=31125321

Gandhi OP, Riazi A. Absorption of millimeter waves by human beings and its biological implications. IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques. MTT-34(2):228-235. 1986. http://bit.ly/2oS3rKD

Haas AJ, Le Page Y, Zhadobov M, et al. Effects of 60-GHz millimeter waves on neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells using high-content screening. Neurosci Lett. 2016 Apr 8;618:58-65.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26921450

Haas AJ, Le Page Y, Zhadobov M, et al. Effect of acute millimeter wave exposure on dopamine metabolism of NGF-treated PC12 cells. J Radiat Res. 2017 Feb 24:1-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28339776

He W, Xu B, Yao Y, Colombi D, Ying Z, He S. Implications of incident power density limits on power and EIRP Levels of 5G millimeter-wave user equipment. IEEE Access. 10 Aug 2020. Open access paper: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=9163106

Hovnanyan K, Kalantaryan V, Trchounian A. The distinguishing effects of low intensity electromagnetic radiation of different extremely high frequences on Enterococcus hirae: growth rate inhibition and scanning electron microscopy analysis. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28609553

Kojima M, Tsai C-Y, Suzuki Y, et al. Ocular response to millimeter wave exposure under different humidity levels. J Infrared Millimeter Terahertz Waves. 40(5):474-484. 2019.  https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10762-019-00586-0

Koyama S, Narita E, Shimizu Y, et al. Effects of long-term exposure to 60 GHz millimeter-wavelength radiation on the genotoxicity and heat shock protein (Hsp) expression of cells derived from human eye. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Aug 8;13(8). pii: E802. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27509516

Le Pogam P, Le Page Y, Habauzit D, et al. Untargeted metabolomics unveil alterations of biomembranes permeability in human HaCaT keratinocytes upon 60 GHz millimeter-wave exposure. Sci Rep. 2019 Jun 27;9(1):9343. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45662-6. Open access paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-45662-6

Parker JE, Beason CW, Sturgeon SP, Voorhees WB, Johnson SS, et al. Revisiting 35 and 94 GHZ Millimeter Wave Exposure to the Non-human Primate Eye. Health Phys. 2020 Jun 3. doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000001216. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32501817/https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32501817/

Romanenko S, Harvey AR, Hool L, Fan S, Wallace VP. Millimeter wave radiation activates leech nociceptors via TRPV1-like receptor sensitization. Biophys J. 2019 Apr 25. pii: S0006-3495(19)30340-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2019.04.021.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31103236 

Sivachenko IB, Medvedev DS, Molodtsova ID, et al. Effects of millimeter-wave electromagnetic radiation on the experimental model of migraine. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2016 Feb;160(4):425-8. doi: 10.1007/s10517-016-3187-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26899844

Wang Q, Zhao X, Li S, et al. Attenuation by a human body and trees as well as material penetration loss in 26 and 39 GHz millimeter wave bands. International Journal of Antennas and Propagation. 2017. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/2961090.

Wu T, Rappaport TS, Collins CM. The human body and millimeter-wave wireless communication systems: Interactions and implications. IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC), Jun 2015. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7248688