Athermal effects of EMR - Dr Sianette Kwee

The following information is from a presentation by Dr Sianne Kwee, Effects of Microwave Fields from Mobile Phones on Cell Growth to the European Parliament, 29.6.00.

Dr Kwee and her colleagues in Denmark conducted a series of experiments designed to show how EMR affects cell tissue cultures and their DNA replication. The researchers cultivated human cells in an EMR-free environment then exposed them to EMR, before returning them to a field-free zone for 24 hours. They subsequently measured the difference between the exposed cells and unexposed controls. The results of a variety of experiments conducted in this way are as follows:

Effects of ELF exposure

Kwee exposed cells to the 50Hz field of 80 microTesla, such as would be emitted from a high voltage power line. Exposed cells showed a greater degree of cell growth and DNA replication than controls with the first changes detected 24 hours after exposure. However, among cells exposed for a long period of time there were no changes to growth, indicating an adaptive effect. This may explain why “in experiments in which cells or animals were exposed for days or weeks, these changes did not always show up.”

Effects of Microwave/RF exposure:

Kwee exposed cells to a field of 960 MHz (of the GSM phone system) but at a very low power (SAR 0.021 - 0.21 mW/kg), such as is emitted by mobile phone antennae. Exposed cells showed changes in cell growth and proliferation in comparison with controls. The maximum effects were observed after 20 minutes of exposure.

Non-thermal effects of microwaves

Kwee investigated the possibility that effects on cells may have been occurring as a result of a temperature rise. She subjected cells to temporary heating between 35 and 40ºC and found that growth was not affected. Next she introduced a microwave field during the heating and found that there were significant changes to growth. This suggested “that it was exposure to the MW field that causes the effects and not the changes in temperature or heating.”

Because Kwee’s other studies were done at energy levels too low to generate heat, effects were clearly non-thermal.

Microwaves and Heat-Shock Proteins

Heat shock proteins are produced as a cellular response to stress. They can be generated by stress from heat, but also from non-heat stresses such as toxic chemicals or viruses.

In order to ascertain whether exposure to microwaves caused cellular stress, Kwee examined levels of heat shock proteins in cells that had been exposed to microwaves. She found that “exposure to microwave fields resulted in a significant increase in the amount of several types of heat-shock proteins in the cells ... at normal body temperature ie 37ºC.” To obtain a comparable rise in the number of heat-shock proteins without microwave exposure, it was necessary to heat cells to over 42ºC.

Microwaves and Signal Transduction

Signal transduction is a process in which messages from the cell membrane are transmitted to the nucleus. These messages can affect the life cycle of the cell which is controlled by regulating factors (involved in cancer growth).

Kwee found that cells exposed to microwaves showed changes in the amount of some regulating factors and in the rate at which they appeared.

Reducing Effects of EMR

Kwee tested the validity of the theory that cells will react only when exposed to a constant field for 5-10 seconds.

She found that superimposing another signal (noise) on an ELF field from the power system inhibited changes to growth that she had previously noted. “...when the noise field was strong enough, cell growth became normal again.”

EMRAA News Dec 2000, Vol 5 No 4