, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 187-194

First online:

Non-Thermal Effect of Microwave Radiation on Human Brain

  • Hiie HinrikusAffiliated withBiomedical Engineering Center, Tallinn University of Technology Email author 
  • , Maie BachmannAffiliated withBiomedical Engineering Center, Tallinn University of Technology
  • , Ruth TomsonAffiliated withBiomedical Engineering Center, Tallinn University of Technology
  • , Jaanus LassAffiliated withBiomedical Engineering Center, Tallinn University of Technology

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This study focuses on an origin of interaction mechanism of microwave radiation with nervous system—quasi-thermal field effect. The microwave field can cause fluctuations and vibration of the charged particles and membranes in tissues. The hypothesis is, that this phenomenon is similar to the effect caused by Brown motion initiated by temperature and results in the same effects without rise in temperature. The electric field of 1 V/cm can introduce disturbance of the thermal equilibrium inside a cell of 10 μm radius, which is equivalent to disturbance produced by temperature rise of 1 K. The hypothesis, that microwave heating should cause an effect independent of the microwave modulation frequency, while field effect depends on modulation frequency, was examined experimentally. The 450 MHz microwave radiation, modulated at 7, 14 and 21 Hz frequencies, power density at the skin 0.16 mW/cm2, was applied. The experimental protocol consisted of two series of five cycles of the repetitive microwave exposure at fixed modulation frequencies. Relative changes in EEG theta, alpha and beta rhythms of the group of 13 healthy volunteers were analysed. Analysis of the experimental data shows that: (1) statistically significant changes in EEG rhythms depend on modulation frequency of the microwave field; (2) microwave stimulation causes an increase of the EEG energy level; (3) the effect is most intense at beta1 rhythm and higher modulation frequencies. These findings confirm the quasi-thermal origin of the effect, different from average heating.


EMF effects low-level radiation nonionizing radiation thermal effect quasi-thermal field effect EEG rhythms