U.K.’s National Radiological Board Finds Magnetic Fields Appear To Affect Learning In Animals
Scientific American
Journalists: Tim Beardsley
December 11, 1997

Scientists at the U.K.’s National Radiological Board have found that magnetic fields do indeed appear to affect learning in animals, as first stated by a U.S. researcher. In four separate tests involving exposure of mice to power-line-frequency magnetic fields of 50 hertz, the exposed mice were found to learn their way about multi-arm mazes significantly more slowly than regular mice do. The results could have implications for the mobile phone industry, although Frank Barnes of the University of Colorado notes that nothing has been proven conclusively. The U.S. researcher that first suggested magnetic fields could affect learning, Henry Lai of the University of Washington, exposed rats to pulsed microwave radiation for 45 minutes a day in 1994. The radiation the rats absorbed per minute was comparable to what a human being would absorb per minute while using a cellular phone. While two particular neurochemical systems in the brains of rats involved in the experiment did appear to be affected by the radiation, Lai notes that the experiment employed microwaves of higher frequency than cell phones emit.