E-Smog and depression

Environmental levels of electromagnetic radiation may affect mental health.

This is the finding of a new Australian study on the connection between suicide and geomagnetic storms.

Professor Michael Berk from the University of Melbourne, analysed the incidence of geomagnetic storms caused by solar flares and suicide rates between 1968 and 2002. He found that the rate of suicides was greater in some months than others and that more women committed suicide during periods of geomagnetic storm.

With over 68,000 cases included, the study is one of the largest of its type.

The study raises questions about just how other sources of environmental electromagnetic fields - such as those from the electricity grid or mobile telecommunications - may impact on mental health.

“The study suggests a small but consistent role of ambient electromagnetic fields,” Professor Berk told EMR and Health. “Of course all fields are different, and one cannot extrapolate from one type to another and assume that the results will be the same.”

Dr Berk points out the importance of frequency, the intensity and even the location of the signal for effects to be seen.

He adds, “The most one can say is that these fields have the potential to influence behaviour, and that one needs to specifically study the type of field you are interested in.”

The study was published in the November issue of the journal Bioelectromagnetics.

from 'EMR and Health' Mar 2006, vol 2 no 1