“When roaming on a cellphone in the car kicked in, the pain almost felt like having my arm blown off again,” said Underwood, an Iraq War veteran who was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED). His injuries have resulted in 35 surgeries and the amputation of his left arm.
Until a recent study led by researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas was published online last month in PLOS ONE, there was no scientific evidence to back up the anecdotal stories of people, such as Underwood, who reported aberrant sensations and neuropathic pain around cellphone towers and other technology that produce radio-frequency electromagnetic fields.
subjects exposed to cellphone towers at low, regular levels can actually perceive pain
Our study also points to a specific nerve pathway that may contribute to our main finding
This is one of the first studies to look at the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in a nerve-injury model
The team hypothesized that the formation of neuromas — inflamed peripheral nerve bundles that often form due to injury — created an environment that may be sensitive to EMF-tissue interactions
To test this, the team randomly assigned 20 rats into two groups — one receiving a nerve injury that simulated amputation, and the other group receiving a sham treatment. Researchers then exposed the subjects to a radiofrequency electromagnetic antenna for 10 minutes, once per week for eight weeks. The antenna delivered a power density equal to that measured at 39 meters from a local cellphone tower — a power density that a person might encounter outside of occupational settings.
by the fourth week, 88 percent of subjects in the nerve-injured group demonstrated a behavioral pain response, while only one subject in the sham group exhibited pain at a single time point, and that was during the first week. After growth of neuroma and resection — the typical treatment in humans with neuromas who are experiencing pain — the pain responses persisted.
“Many believe that a neuroma has to be present in order to evoke pain. Our model found that electromagnetic fields evoked pain that is perceived before neuroma formation; subjects felt pain almost immediately,“
“My hope is that this study will highlight the importance of developing clinical options to prevent neuromas, instead of the current partially effective surgery alternatives for neuroma resection to treat pain.”
“It is highly likely that TRPV4 is a mediator in the pain response for these subjects,” Romero-Ortega said. “Our calcium imaging experiments were a good indicator that TRPV4 is worth further exploration.”
There are people who live in caves because they report to be hypersensitive to radiomagnetism, yet the rest of the world uses cellphones and does not have a problem
“In our study, the subjects with nerve injury were not capable of complex psychosomatic behavior. Their pain was a direct response to man-made radiofrequency electromagnetic energy.”
Researchers said that the next step is to develop devices that block neuropathic pain from radiofrequency electromagnetic energy.