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Radiation and the mind

  1. Nov 21, 2008 #1
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 22, 2008 #2
    Not nearly strong enough fields. Radio has been around for a long time now with no effects, and well, sunlight also has a fair share of EM waves (like 100%) of varying wavelength.

    Cell phones are just too weak to do anything.
     
  4. Nov 22, 2008 #3
    If certain frequencies of the spectrum can affect the firing patterns of our neurons as the article suggests. The only effects would be altered brain wave patterns , and slight changes in behavior. So it wouldn't be observable without an EEG. The slight behavioral changes would go without notice, and if they were noticed would be attributed to something else.

    For example the second study which showed cell phone radiation before bead caused an absence of Delta waves which are required for sleep, and the test subjects exposed could not fall asleep as easy as the ones not exposed. The researcher said the effect was similar to the effect of a cup of coffee. Interestingly though, the boost of alpha waves associated with relaxation and lack of attention was the main focus.

    Interesting that a boost in alpha waves is an effect along with decreased delta waves.
     
  5. Nov 22, 2008 #4
    Why would there be "slight" changes in behavior, and not full on mental breakdowns?
     
  6. Nov 22, 2008 #5
    Not sure. I know that the there have been documented effects ever since radar, including the most well known "Frey Effect".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frey_effect
     
  7. Nov 22, 2008 #6
    Microwaves seem more reasonable, since it's closer to the resonant frequency of water, so you could get thermal effects such as the Frey effect. But, that is still a physical effect and not EM doing it. Neurons aren't being altered by an electrical or magnetic field, but by actually physically manipulating them.

    And do you happen to know how powerful a microwave radar is compared to something like radio? That would help, since I think it's quite a bit stronger than anything we use day-to-day.
     
  8. Nov 22, 2008 #7
    I think the research means that there are different ways in which the brain can be affected. The cell phone may be a much lower signal, but it is held very close to the cerebral cortex.
     
  9. Nov 22, 2008 #8
    "The significance of the research," he explained, is that although the cell phone power is low, "electromagnetic radiation can nevertheless have an effect on mental behavior when transmitting at the proper frequency." He finds this fact especially remarkable when considering that everyone is surrounded by electromagnetic clutter radiating from all kinds of electronic devices in our modern world. Cell phones in talk mode seem to be particularly well-tuned to frequencies that affect brainwave activity. "The results show sensitivity to low-level radiation to a subtle degree. These findings open the door by a crack for more research to follow. One only wonders if with different doses, durations, or other devices, would there be greater effects?"

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=...ontrol-by-cell
     
  10. Nov 22, 2008 #9
    did you read the article? the claim is measurable changes in brain wave patterns from exposure to transmitting cell phones.

    what do you wish to dispute? the methods, veracity, significance, or something else?
     
  11. Nov 22, 2008 #10

    Pythagorean

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    it's interesting to imagine how much of modern society is shaped by something like stray EM waves. I don't find it obscene at all that your cell phone can affect your brain, especially given the 1/r^2 law.... if you're holding it right on your head, r is pretty damn close to 0.

    I don't think it could mess with cells so much (i.e. cancer) unless it's a very gradual process that's insignificant compared to all the other cancer-causing things we ingest and expose ourselves to.

    I mean, it is an EM wave, so it potentially can deteriorate things on the same order as it's wavelength (photoelectric effect) but I would imagine our rate of healing overcomes this.
     
  12. Nov 22, 2008 #11
    The significance. There are so many sources of EM waves that I find it hard to believe this is a big deal.
     
  13. Nov 22, 2008 #12

    Pythagorean

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    Maybe you would have chosen the nick PeacePhalange if you hadn't irradiated your brain?

    Maybe you'd get more sleep (which leads to a sturdier metabolism, better critical thinking, balance, and overall healthier lifestyle)

    How could we know the significance if we take evidence like this and (like you) instantly trivialize it without further thought or investigation?
     
  14. Nov 22, 2008 #13
    Because I don't use cell phones at all and my friends do all the time, and there is no real difference between us besides personalities.

    Besides, you'd expect people to suddenly get seizures or something similar if this really affected the brain that profoundly. Sooner or later something would lock up in someone causing spontaneous hallucinations or lapses in memory or blackouts.

    And these rates would have increased even further since more and more people are using cell phones, often times as their sole telephone service.
     
  15. Nov 22, 2008 #14

    Pythagorean

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    note: I'm only arguing with you because you seem to have made up your mind. I haven't yet.

    but it could be inherent to personality traits, so you wouldn't know. Hell, how much of your friend's personalities do you know is nature vs. nurture in the first place?

    I don't make that leap. I would be more cautious about subtle, long-term effects. It would also seem to be a behavioral thing more than anything. If they've already showed that cell phones make it hard to sleep and lack of sleep doubles your chances of death....

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070924092553.htm

    I think that would be significant. Like enough for people to change their habits and not use their cell phone before bed.

    btw, I use a cell phone myself. Don't even own a land line.
     
  16. Nov 22, 2008 #15
    I wonder if maybe they will find a transmitting frequency that is less affective on brain activity.

    I am curious to know if there is a frequency that induces theta waves. Maybe one day we will wear special headgear that helps us focus while studying. Or maybe instead of taking sleep pills, we could use an electronic device that induces delta waves.
     
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