Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mobiles Entrain Your Brain's Electrical Activity

image by harrykeely,

The Brain Gets Habituated To The External Electromagnetic Pulses Very Quickly

There was a time when telephone operators would have those heavy earphones plugged around their ears for their entire working hours, as they connected and disconnected calls round the clock. Nobody ever gave any thought to the impact of the electromagnetic radiation on their brain's electrical activity, because science wasn't so advanced. Wonder how horrified that generation would feel when told of the impact of their constant usage of the equipment?

image by mzacha,

The mesh of neurons and other matter that make up the mass of the brain creates its own electricity. This electric activity is so weak that you need specialized equipment called the Electro-Encephalogram (EEG) to detect, measure and study it. The brain's activity manifests in the equipment in the form of gently undulating waves in now well-demarcated frequency bands. The presence of the brain's waves in a band is indicative of some very specific activity that the brain as a whole is performing, and which got that particular frequency to be created.

image by lusi,

Now, what happens when some external device too generates electromagnetic waves of its own, at certain frequencies, and in the close vicinity of the brain? As with any two devices in nature that are vibrating / generating waves of their own, a resonance begins to develop between the two. When one of the devices is geared to generating a specific frequency by brute force, then it is the other device that acquiesces and begins to resonate at this device's frequency. Substitute the device that is generating a specific frequency by brute force, with a mobile. And substitute the device that acquiesces, with your brain. What will happen? Your brain will begin to resonate at the mobile's frequency. They call it entraining the brain.

image by m_a_essam,

An experiment was conducted to observe this entrainment in human beings, and is reported here. They deployed two Nokia 6310 GSM mobile phones which worked on 900 Mhz and at maximum power, which is about 2 W. One phone was rigged to redirect the GSM power signal output into an internal load, instead of into the antenna, which effectively means that though the internal circuitry was active, no radiofrequency power was delivered in space by the antenna.

image by digi,

Ten volunteers from both the genders were made to listen to beeps of pre-set frequencies from the two mobiles on the left ear, and the consequent change in the brain's electrical activity was measured using the EEG in both the cases. They particularly zoomed in on the "initial contingent negative variation" (iCNV) amplitudes, their technical mumbo-jumbo in brainwave technology. The conclusion of the experiment was that the mobile's electromagnetic pulses influence the brain's own electric activity, causing it to "habituate" or "entrain". There is certain agitation and arousal, the brain becomes excited and shows behavior similar to what happens to it when experiencing conditions such as migraine.

image by digi,

Before we reach out for the panic button, we need to understand the other side, too. There are lobbies on both the sides, one advocating that excessive mobile usage has a health side-effect, and the other side counter-arguing that mobiles are as safe as child's pacifier. For every paper that presents authoritatively the one side, there is another paper that takes a diametrically opposite position. So it might be a sound idea to keep our perspective balanced, and wait for somebody to settle the issue once and for all.

image by mzacha,

And meanwhile also let's keep our mobile usage to a need-to-use basis. Remember how our forefathers relied on face-to-face communication?

image by beverlylr,

[While on this topic, here is another article on brain's entrainment: "The Brain's Electrical Activity".]

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