Saturday, August 29, 2015

EMR Aware Newsletter August - September 2015

August - September 2015

In our June issue, it was announced this publication would change from monthly to quarterly. However, some readers expressed a desire to remain current with emerging events and trends. Accordingly, we have decided to adopt a periodic schedule and send out a newsletter whenever sufficient content has been compiled. As always, the purpose is to promote in the public interest a fair and balanced discussion of the topics at hand.
Public education is the key to adoption of safer technologies and exposure standards. You can help spread the message by forwarding the link to this newsletter to as many friends, associates and social media sites as you feel appropriate.
Adverse effects due to routine EMR exposure can take years or even decades to manifest. Part of the overall function of our newsletter is to serve notice upon Government and industry personnel active in this field regarding their duty of care to act upon scientific evidence. Everyone is invited to send by email new material for inclusion in the next edition.
- See more at:

Friday, August 28, 2015

What is nomophobia & how is it assessed?

What is nomophobia & how is it assessed?

"Nomophobia is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.[1][2][3] It is, however, arguable that the word "phobia" is misused and that in the majority of cases it is only a normal anxiety.[4]Although nomophobia does not appear in the current DSM-V, it has been proposed as a "specific phobia", based on definitions given in the DSM-IV.[5] According to Bianchi and Philips (2005) psychological factors are involved in the overuse of a mobile phone.[6] These could include low self-esteem, when individuals looking for reassurance use the mobile phone in inappropriate ways, and extroverted personality, when naturally social individuals use the mobile phone to excess. It is also highly possible that nomophobic symptoms may be caused by other underlying and preexisting mental disorders, with likely candidates including social phobia or social anxiety disorder, social anxiety,[7] andpanic disorder.[8]" Wikipedia

Are you a nomophobe?

News Service, Iowa State University, Aug 26, 2015

Two-minute video and brief article describing the following new study by Yildrim and Correia.

Yildrim C., Correia A-P. Exploring the dimensions of nomophobia: Development and validation of a self-reported questionnaire. Computers in Human Behavior. 49:130-137. August 2015.


• Nomophobia was investigated as a theoretical construct among young adults.
• Dimensions of nomophobia were identified and described.
• The Nomophobia Questionnaire (NMP-Q) was devised and validated.
• The NMP-Q can be used as a measure of nomophobia.
• Nomophobia can be considered a situational phobia and included in DSM-5.


Nomophobia is considered a modern age phobia introduced to our lives as a byproduct of the interaction between people and mobile information and communication technologies, especially smartphones. This study sought to contribute to the nomophobia research literature by identifying and describing the dimensions of nomophobia and developing a questionnaire to measure nomophobia. Consequently, this study adopted a two-phase, exploratory sequential mixed methods design. The first phase was a qualitative exploration of nomophobia through semi-structured interviews conducted with nine undergraduate students at a large Midwestern university in the U.S. As a result of the first phase, four dimensions of nomophobia were identified: not being able to communicate, losing connectedness, not being able to access information and giving up convenience. The qualitative findings from this initial exploration were then developed into a 20-item nomophobia questionnaire (NMP-Q). In the second phase, the NMP-Q was validated with a sample of 301 undergraduate students. Exploratory factor analysis revealed a four-factor structure for the NMP-Q, corresponding to the dimensions of nomophobia. The NMP-Q was shown to produce valid and reliable scores; and thus, can be used to assess the severity of nomophobia.

According to Pew Research Center’s Mobile Technology Fact Sheet (2014), as of January 2014, 90% of the American adult population have some kind of a cell phone and 58% of American adults own a smartphone ... college students are regarded as the early adopters of smartphones (Lee, 2014).

... Previous studies have shown that smartphones may cause compulsive checking habits (Oulasvirta et al., 2012), that smartphones may lead to compulsive usage and increased distress (Lee, 2014 and Matusik and Mickel, 2011), and that smartphones can be addictive (Chiu, 2014, Lee, 2014 and Salehan and Negahban, 2013).

Another problem exacerbated by smartphones is nomophobia. Nomophobia, or no mobile phone phobia, is “the fear of being out of mobile phone contact” (SecurEnvoy, 2012, para. 1). The term, nomophobia, is an abbreviation for no-mobile-phone phobia, and it was first coined during a study conducted in 2008 by the UK Post Office to investigate anxieties mobile phone users suffer (SecurEnvoy, 2012). The 2008 study in the UK, conducted with over 2100 people, demonstrated that some 53% of mobile phone users suffered from nomophobia (Mail Online, 2008). The study also revealed that men were more prone to nomophobia than were women, with 58% of male participants and 48% of female participants indicating feelings of anxiety when unable to use their phone.

Another study conducted in the UK (SecurEnvoy, 2012) surveyed 1000 employees and showed that the number of people suffering from nomophobia increased from 53% to 66%. Unlike the 2008 study, the 2012 study found out that women were more susceptible to nomophobia, with 70% of the women compared to 61% of the men expressing feelings of anxiety about losing their phone or not being able to use their phone (SecurEnvoy, 2012). In terms of the relationship between age and nomophobia, the study found that young adults, aged 18–24 were most prone to nomophobia with 77% of them identified as nomophobic, followed by users aged 25–34 at 68%. Moreover, mobile phone users in the 55 and over group were found to be the third most nomophobic users.

In one of the very first research studies into nomophobia (King, Valença, & Nardi, 2010), nomophobia is considered a 21st century disorder resulting from new technologies. In this definition, nomophobia “denotes discomfort or anxiety when out of mobile phone (MP) or computer contact. It is the fear of becoming technologically incommunicable, distant from the MP or not connected to the Web” (King et al., 2010, p. 52). Thus, this definition seems to encompass not only mobile phones but computers, as well. In another study (King et al., 2013), nomophobia is defined as “a disorder of the modern world [that] has only recently been used to describe the discomfort or anxiety caused by the non-availability of an MP, PC or any other virtual communication device in individuals who use them habitually” (p. 141). Although their definition includes the unavailability of computers, they argue that computers are replaced by mobile phones, which presumably have smartphone capabilities, and tablets. Therefore, they state that their research focus is less on computers and more on virtual communication environments, including mobile phones (King et al., 2013, p. 142). Their definition implies a dependency on virtual environments for communication. In a recent study (King et al., 2014), nomophobia is defined as follows:

Nomophobia is the modern fear of being unable to communicate through a mobile phone (MP) or the Internet. … Nomophobia is a term that refers to a collection of behaviors or symptoms related to MP use. Nomophobia is a situational phobia related to agoraphobia and includes the fear of becoming ill and not receiving immediate assistance (p. 28).

The present study discusses nomophobia in relation to smartphones. As King et al. (2010) propose, nomophobia is considered a modern age phobia and a byproduct of the interaction between individuals and new technologies. Over the last five years, smartphones have taken over the mobile phone market and have almost replaced the phrase “mobile/cell phone” With their numerous capabilities, smartphones facilitate instant communication, help people stay connected anywhere anytime, and provide people with constant access to information. Thus, people have become dependent on their mobile phones more than ever (Park et al., 2013), which, in turn, supposedly exacerbates the feelings of anxiety caused by being out of mobile phone contact. That connection is why nomophobia should be considered in relation to smartphones, which have the standard capabilities of a cell phone, (e.g., phone calls, texting, etc.) and have more advanced capabilities like internet access, applications, or sensors (Park et al., 2013).

Although there has been an increasing academic interest in investigating the problems emanating from smartphone use, research into nomophobia has been scarce (King et al., 2013 and King et al., 2014). Thus, the purpose of this two-phase, exploratory mixed methods study was to explore the dimensions of nomophobia with the intent of using these findings to develop and validate a self-reported questionnaire to measure nomophobia among U.S. college students. To our best knowledge, this study is the first to devise a self-reported measure to assess the severity of nomophobia among college students.

Table 1. The 20 items in the NMP-Q.
1. I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information through my smartphone
2. I would be annoyed if I could not look information up on my smartphone when I wanted to do so
3. Being unable to get the news (e.g., happenings, weather, etc.) on my smartphone would make me nervous
4. I would be annoyed if I could not use my smartphone and/or its capabilities when I wanted to do so
5. Running out of battery in my smartphone would scare me
6. If I were to run out of credits or hit my monthly data limit, I would panic
7. If I did not have a data signal or could not connect to Wi-Fi, then I would constantly check to see if I had a signal or could find a Wi-Fi network
8. If I could not use my smartphone, I would be afraid of getting stranded somewhere
9. If I could not check my smartphone for a while, I would feel a desire to check it

If I did not have my smartphone with me,
10. I would feel anxious because I could not instantly communicate with my family and/or friends
11. I would be worried because my family and/or friends could not reach me
12. I would feel nervous because I would not be able to receive text messages and calls
13. I would be anxious because I could not keep in touch with my family and/or friends
14. I would be nervous because I could not know if someone had tried to get a hold of me
15. I would feel anxious because my constant connection to my family and friends would be broken
16. I would be nervous because I would be disconnected from my online identity
17. I would be uncomfortable because I could not stay up-to-date with social media and online networks
18. I would feel awkward because I could not check my notifications for updates from my connections and online networks
19. I would feel anxious because I could not check my email messages
20. I would feel weird because I would not know what to do
... Cronbach’s alpha reliability coefficient for internal consistency of the questionnaire is .945, indicating that the questionnaire has good internal consistency (DeVellis, 2003, Field, 2009 and Nunnally, 1978) ... The alpha coefficients of Factor I – not being able to communicate – (6 items), Factor II – losing connectedness – (5 items), Factor III – not being able to access information – (4 items) and Factor IV – giving up convenience – (5 items) were .939, .874, .827, and .814, respectively (see Table 4). They were all above the commonly accepted minimum value of .7 (Nunnally, 1978), suggesting that they demonstrate good internal consistency.

In an attempt to address the scarcity of research into nomophobia, this study explored the dimensions of nomophobia, devised the NMP-Q as self-reported measure to assess the severity of nomophobia, and provided empirical support for the validity and reliability of the NMP-Q. Future research should seek to further investigate the psychometric properties of the NMP-Q and to explore the psychological mechanisms underlying nomophobia. Especially, studies examining the psychological factors comorbid with nomophobia are imperative. Moreover, further investigation into the prevalence of nomophobia among different demographic groups in diverse contexts are needed. For instance, a previous study revealed that females were more susceptible to nomophobia when compared to males (SecurEnvoy, 2012). Conversely, in another study, males were shown to be more likely to demonstrate nomophobic behaviors than males (Mail Online, 2008). Given these inconsistent results, further investigation is needed to disentangle whether males and females differ in their proclivity to nomophobia. In addition, future research should aim to determine which factors predict nomophobia, which can be useful for identifying the risk groups and developing prevention strategies to help those groups cope with nomophobia. Overall, we envisage that further investigation into the phenomenon of nomophobia is viable, and that the NMP-Q, as a self-reported measure of nomophobia, can be useful for future research.

Other Research on Nomophobia
Bragazzi NL, Del Puente G. A proposal for including nomophobia in the new DSM-V. Psychol Res Behav Manag. 2014 May 16;7:155-60. doi: 10.2147/PRBM.S41386. eCollection 2014.


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is considered to be the gold standard manual for assessing the psychiatric diseases and is currently in its fourth version (DSM-IV), while a fifth (DSM-V) has just been released in May 2013. The DSM-V Anxiety Work Group has put forward recommendations to modify the criteria for diagnosing specific phobias. In this manuscript, we propose to consider the inclusion ofnomophobia in the DSM-V, and we make a comprehensive overview of the existing literature, discussing the clinical relevance of this pathology, its epidemiological features, the available psychometric scales, and the proposed treatment. Even though nomophobia has not been included in the DSM-V, much more attention is paid to the psychopathological effects of the new media, and the interest in this topic will increase in the near future, together with the attention and caution not to hypercodify as pathological normal behaviors.


King AL, Valença AM, Silva AC, Sancassiani F, Machado S, Nardi AE."Nomophobia": impact of cell phone use interfering with symptoms and emotions of individuals with panic disorder compared with a control group. Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health. 2014 Feb 21;10:28-35. doi: 10.2174/1745017901410010028. eCollection 2014. 


Panic disorder refers to the frequent and recurring acute attacks of anxiety.

OBJECTIVE: This study describes the routine use of mobiles phones (MPs) and investigates the appearance of possible emotional alterations or symptoms related to their use in patients with panic disorder (PD).

BACKGROUND: We compared patients with PD and agoraphobia being treated at the Panic and Respiration Laboratory of The Institute of Psychiatry, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to a control group of healthy volunteers.

METHODS: An MP-use questionnaire was administered to a consecutive sample of 50 patients and 70 controls.

RESULTS: People with PD showed significant increases in anxiety, tachycardia, respiratory alterations, trembling, perspiration, panic, fear and depression related to the lack of an MP compared to the control group.

CONCLUSIONS: Both groups exhibited dependence on and were comforted by having an MP; however, people with PD and agoraphobia showed significantly more emotional alterations as well as intense physical and psychological symptoms when they were apart from or unable to use an MP compared to healthy volunteers


King AL, Valença AM, Nardi AE. Nomophobia: the mobile phone in panic disorder with agoraphobia: reducing phobias or worsening of dependence? Cogn Behav Neurol. 2010 Mar;23(1):52-4. doi: 10.1097/WNN.0b013e3181b7eabc.


OBJECTIVE: In this report, we present and discuss a hypothesis for the development, in individuals with panic disorder and agoraphobia, of dependence on his or her mobile phone (MP).

BACKGROUND: This disorder, termed nomophobia, is a result of the development of new technologies. Nomophobia is considered a disorder of the modern world and refers to discomfort or anxiety caused by being out of contact with a MP or computer. It is the pathologic fear of remaining out of touch with technology.

METHOD: We present, the case report of a patient who has continuously kept his MP with him since 1995 because of his overwhelming need to feel safe and to be able to immediately call emergency services and people he trusts should he feel sick.

RESULT: The patient was treated with medication and cognitive-behavior psychotherapy. He has remained asymptomatic for 4 years. The patient showed significant medical improvement in his panic disorder and phobias, but there has been no change in his nomophobia.

CONCLUSIONS: The case presented here illustrates the dependence of an individual with panic disorder on his MP. A specific approach for this dependence should be used in some panic disorder patients.

Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley

Electromagnetic Radiation Safety

News Releases:
Twitter:                 @berkeleyprc

At what age should schoolchildren get a cell phone?

Joel's comments: 

Professor Candice Odgers recently published several opinion pieces in newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. Based upon seven years of research watching how teenagers use their cellphones each day, she claims that "Sleep aside, the evidence is weak that being “constantly connected” is harming teens. Instead, adolescents’ online lives seem to closely mirror their offline struggles and strengths."  At the end of the article she states that she would get her son a cell phone when "at least half of his friends had one. According to a recent news report, that will be next year, in first grade."
Although her observations may be true for many children in terms of their psychology and social well being, increasingly clinical psychologists and psychiatrists in the U.S. and other countries are reporting that some children become addicted to virtual communication devices and others develop "nomophobia," discomfort or anxiety caused by the non-availability of a mobile phone, personal computer, or any other virtual communication device. (I will follow up by sending a summary of a few studies on nomophobia.)

Like many of her colleagues who have weighed in on the topic of when to give your child a cell phone, Professor Odgers fails to address the nascent peer-reviewed literature that finds various adverse health effects in children from chronic exposure to the electromagnetic fields emitted by virtual communication devices, especially mobile phones. These effects include headaches and migraines, hearing deficits, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, behavioral problems, sleeping disorders, and brain cancer.
Troy Wolverton, a technology columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, recently published an opinion piece that takes a more prudent approach to dealing with the issue of when to give your child his or her first cell phone. Although he too did not address the risks from exposure to electromagnetic radiation, he has assured me that he intends to write a column about these health risks in the near future.


Back to school shopping: pencils, binders — and cell phones?

At what age should schoolchildren get a cell phone?

Candice Odgers, San Francisco Chronicle, August 27, 2015

While doing back-to-school shopping the other day, I was sorting through glitter glue and pencil crayons when my son turned to me with an urgent request: He “needed” a cell phone, he said, so his friends could text him. My son is 5 and does not yet know how to read.

I began to laugh, but his furrowed brow told me he was dead serious. He wanted that cell phone. The kind of phone he had used to Snapchat with older cousins, the sort clutched by the boy in the next aisle and, yes, the kind of phone I had just used to snap a first-day-of-school picture of him for immediate viewing by friends and family.

I had a flash of parental worry about how a cell phone could take over my child’s life. I’m familiar with parents’ anxieties about cell phone use, but as a developmental psychologist who uses cell phones to study adolescents’ relationships and health, I also have another perspective.

For the past seven years, our research team has watched how teenagers in our studies use their phones each day. And we have concluded that when it comes to cell phones, parents often worry about the wrong things.

More than 80 percent of adolescents in the United States now own a cell phone, and 1 in 4 teens report being on their phone “almost constantly.” And when they’re on their phones, they are mostly online.

Early on, parents’ fears about online activities focused on who their children might meet in cyberspace, especially online predators. As cell phones became more ubiquitous, parents started worrying their children were spending too much time on their devices, thus missing out on opportunities to develop social skills, sleep and learn.

But our research and the research of others has found that many adult fears are not supported by science.

For example, most children use cell phones to communicate with friends and family members, not strangers. Most teenagers’ text messages concern everyday topics, and are neutral or positive in content.

Online communication also can carry benefits versus risks. One study found children with strong early relationships communicated more frequently online and reported closer, more cohesive offline friendships. Shared online activities between parents and children are associated with better-quality relationships. And, for those young people headed off to college, mobile phones have been shown to keep college students more closely connected with their parents during this transition.

For the most part, studies suggest children who experience problems in their online lives are the same ones who struggle offline. For example, young people solicited by strangers online are more likely to struggle with substance use or behavioral problems.

Parents rightly worry about the dangerous practice of texting while driving — although adults appear to do this as often as teens. Early evidence also links time online to obesity, a matter worth investigating.

Like other parents, I also worry that ubiquitous cell phones increase the potential for cyberbullying. Children bullied online face increased risk for depression and other negative outcomes, and mobile phones offer bullies new tools.

But cyberbullying is still less common than traditional bullying, and has not created large numbers of new victims; more than 90 percent of those bullied online are also bullied offline.

So far, though, the clearest concern involves sleep. Most teens report sending text messages after dark, and 4 of 5 mobile phone-owning teens report sleeping with phones by their bedside or under their pillow. Not surprisingly, sending text messages after lights out leads to less sleep and next-day fatigue. Light emitted by screens also interferes with falling asleep and with deep sleep, critical for adolescents’ still-growing brains and bodies. Limiting device usage after dark could help ensure devices are not stealing our kids’ sleep.

We still have much to learn about how mobile devices are influencing this generation of digital natives, and parents and scientists need to move quickly to keep pace. But for now, parents may take comfort in this: Sleep aside, the evidence is weak that being constantly connected is harming teens. Instead, adolescents’ online lives seem to closely mirror their offline struggles and strengths.

As for my 5-year-old’s cell phone request, I told him we would need to wait until at least half of his friends had one. According to a recent news report, that will be next year, in first grade.

Candice Odgers is an associate professor of public policy, psychology and neuroscience at Duke University and associate director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. 

Children and phones

When and why should a child get a cell phone? Submit your thoughts (200 or fewer words) at

Related op-eds by Candice Odgers:

Parents, don't fret about your ‘constantly connected’ kids
Candice Odgers, The Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada),  August 24, 2015

Secrets of teens and cellphones
Candice Odgers,Providence Journal (Rhode Island), Aug 26, 2015


Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley

Electromagnetic Radiation Safety

News Releases:
Twitter:                 @berkeleyprc

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cellphone 'Right to Know Lawyer' is Candidate for President

Cellphone 'Right to Know Lawyer' is Candidate for President

Lawrence Lessig is the lawyer who drafted the Berkeley Cell Phone Right to Know Act and is defending it, pro-bono, against the wireless industry's (CTIA) legal challenge.  Is he the new Ralph Nader?  Does he oppose Smart Meters and electro-smog?

Please contact him and urge him to take a stand against Smart Meters and other electro-pollution.  Here is his email address and some sample text:
"We are pleased to support your bid for the presidency!  Would you please take a stand against Smart Meters and other electro-pollution?  Thanks."


Gadget 'allergy': French woman wins disability grant

Gadget 'allergy': French woman wins disability grant

A French woman has won a disability grant after telling a court she suffers from an allergy to electromagnetic radiation from gadgets. 

Marine Richard, 39, was told she may claim €800 (£580) per month for three years as a result.

She said it was a "breakthrough" for people affected by electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS).

The condition is recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), though it says the causes are unclear.

Ms Richard had resorted to living in a remote area in the mountains of south-west France - in a barn that has no electricity.

She said she had been affected by everyday gadgets such as phones.

Typical symptoms reported by those who say they suffer from EHS include headaches, fatigue, nausea and palpitations.

The disability allowance was granted by a court in Toulouse, though the ruling did not formally recognise EHS as an illness.

School sued

In a case in the US, the parents of a 12-year-old boy who they say is hypersensitive to his boarding school's WiFi have decided to file a lawsuit against the establishment.

The parents say their son, a day pupil, has been diagnosed with EHS.

They say he began suffering from headaches, nosebleeds and nausea after the Fay School installed new WiFi in 2013.

The school asked the communications technology firm Isotrope to assess the electromagnetic emissions on campus.

"Isotrope found that the combined levels of access point emissions, broadcast radio and television signals, and other RFE emissions on campus comply with federal and state safety limits by a wide margin," the school said in a statement.

The statement also quoted from the Isotrope report, which said that levels of emissions both in the school and on the grounds "were substantially less than one ten-thousandth (1/10,000th) of the applicable safety limits (federal and state)".

Understanding electromagnetic fields

By Philippa Roxby, BBC News Health Reporter

Electromagnetic fields are all around us but cannot be seen.

In recent years a lot of research has been carried out into man-made sources of these fields, such as electrical power supplies and appliances in the home.

X-ray machines, TV and radio transmitters, mobile phones, WiFi and microwave ovens are all everyday sources of electromagnetic waves.

Those who are sensitive to them talk of experiencing headaches, sleeplessness, ear pain when using a mobile phone, skin tingling and problems with concentration and memory.
For them, the only solution at present is to avoid objects that emit radiation in the home - not easy in the modern world.

In the UK, electromagnetic hypersensitivity is not a recognised condition.
That's because Public Health England says there is no scientific evidence that electromagnetic fields damage people's health.

The WHO agrees and believes more research on long-term health effects needs to be done.

Difficult case

Although some countries, notably Sweden and the US, have officially recognised EHS as a condition, there is still much debate over whether a legal case on the condition would be worthwhile in certain other states.

In the UK, for example, members of the public who are worried about exposure to mobile phone masts tend to challenge their construction on a planning basis, according to research group Powerwatch.

"The health issue is close to a no-win in this country at the moment," Graham Lamburn, its technical manager, told the BBC.

"You really need to win on things like 'it's devalued my property because it's outside my window' or 'there's an irregularity in the way it's been put through with planning'."
Electrosensitivty UK (ES-UK), a charity that campaigns for wider recognition of EHS, said it welcomed the French court's decision.
"Several people in the UK have been diagnosed with electrosensitivity and received help for the disability but any financial allowance usually refers to a different name for the condition or a related condition," it said in a statement.

Validating self-reported mobile phone use in adults using a newly developed smartphone application

Studies that rely on self-reported mobile phone use likely underestimate health risks

"An important finding was the significant impact of the level of phone use on the recall, that is, participants with a higher level of reported phone use were more likely to overestimate their number and duration of calls, while underestimation was more likely among participants who reported lower levels of use. The same trend was observed in the INTERPHONE study. 8 ,9 This has important implications for epidemiological studies on mobile phone use, as it will most likely lead to an underestimation of the risk, if any, for adverse health outcomes. RF dose models based on the recalled number and duration of calls should therefore account for differential recall errors by level of phone use."  (Goedhart et al., 2015) 

Validating self-reported mobile phone use in adults using a newly developed smartphone application

Geertje Goedhart, Hans Kromhout, Joe Wiiart, Roel Vermeulen. Validating self-reported mobile phone use in adults using a newly developed smartphone application. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Published Online First 26 August 2015.
Objective Interpretation of epidemiological studies on health effects from mobile phone use is hindered by uncertainties in the exposure assessment. We used a newly developed smartphone application (app) to validate self-reported mobile phone use and behaviour among adults.
Methods 107 participants (mean age 41.4 years) in the Netherlands either downloaded the software app on their smartphone or were provided with a study smartphone for 4 weeks. The app recorded the number and duration of calls, text messages, data transfer, laterality and hands-free use. Self-reported mobile phone use was collected before using the app and after 6 months through an interviewer-administered questionnaire.
Results The geometric mean ratios (GMR, 95% CI) and Spearman correlations (r) of self-reported (after 6 months) versus recorded number and duration of calls were: GMR=0.65 (0.53 to 0.80), r=0.53; and GMR=1.11 (0.86 to 1.42), r=0.57 respectively. Participants held the phone on average for 86% of the total call time near the head. Self-reported right side users held the phone for 70.7% of the total call time on the right side of the head, and left side users for 66.2% on the left side of the head. The percentage of total call time that the use of hands-free devices (headset, speaker mode, Bluetooth) was recorded increased with increasing frequency of reported hands-free device usage.
Discussion The observed recall errors and precision of reported laterality and hands-free use can be used to quantify and improve radiofrequency exposure models based on self-reported mobile phone use.

What this paper adds

  • How much weight is given to the findings of epidemiological studies on health effects from mobile phone use depends to a large extent on how well these studies can account for inaccuracies in their exposure assessment, that is, self-reported mobile phone use.
  • A newly developed smartphone application was used to record actual mobile phone use, enabling validation of self-reported phone use. In addition to the frequency and duration of phone calls, laterality, use of hands-free devices and data transfer were recorded by the application.
  • Consistent with previous observations among adults, duration of calls was on average overestimated, while the number of calls was underestimated.
  • Laterality data recorded by the application suggested that there is considerable within-person variability at the side of the head the phone is used, and in the percentage of call time the phone was actually near the head during voice calls.
  • The observed recall errors and precision of reported laterality and hands-free use can be used to quantify and improve radiofrequency exposure models based on self-reported mobile phone use.

Several studies have been performed to validate recall of mobile phone use among adults, by comparing with operator records, or by using hardware-modified or software-modified phones (HMP, SMP).2 ,6–9 The use of operator records is, however, often limited by incomplete records (eg, no information on incoming calls), or the inability to correct for shared phone users, prepaid users or business-phone users.2 Moreover, these validation studies did not collect data on laterality and/or the use of hands-free devices, two important determinants of RF dose in the brain, used in studies on brain tumour risk. A potential risk from RF is expected to exist primarily on the side of the head where the phone is usually held (ipsilateral exposure) and, to a lesser extent, at the opposite side of the head (contralateral exposure).10 ,11 Whether people can accurately recall the side of the head they generally held their phone is yet unknown. Furthermore, no information is available on the percentage of call time that people use hands-free devices (ie, lower exposure to the brain).

... The Q1 and Q3 questionnaires were based on the mobile phone part of the questionnaire developed and used within the MOBI-Kids study, a multinational case–control study investigating the potential effects of childhood and adolescent exposure to electromagnetic fields from mobile communications technologies on brain tumour risk.12

The app is currently also used within the multinational Mobi-Expo study, a validation study on self-reported mobile phone use among young people, as part of the MOBI-Kids study.13

In total, 6869 calls were monitored by the app. Per week, the participants made on average (SD) 16.1 (14.4) calls, spoke on the phone for 47.5 (56.1) minutes, sent and received 12.4 (10.2) text messages and transferred 435.6 (902.1) MB ....The average call duration per week was significantly higher among participants aged 25 to 34 (p=0.05) and 45 to 54 (p<0 .01="" 2g="" among="" and="" br="" carried="" compared="" data="" females="" group="" males="" mostly="" nbsp="" networks.="" oldest="" out="" p="0.04)." rather="" than="" the="" to="" transfer="" via="" was="" wi-fi="" years="">
On average, participants held the phone for 86% of the total call time near the head. Participants who reported using the phone generally on the right side of their head did use it on average for 70.7% of the total call time on the right side versus 16.3% on the left side (table 3). Self-reported left-side users held the phone more on the left (66.2%) than the right (18.8%) side of their head. The few participants who reported using the phone on both sides of the head actually used it more on the right (52.2%) than the left (32.2%) side. For an averaged 14% of the total call time, the phone was not held near the head, because of hands-free device usage (headset: 2.9%, speaker mode: 5%, Bluetooth: 2.7%), or because of other actions that required holding the phone away from the head (3.4%). Three (5.4%), 19 (33.9%) and 11 (19.6%) participants reported having used a headset, the speaker mode of the phone or a Bluetooth headset/car kit, respectively (table 4). The percentage of recorded hands-free device usage increased with the increasing reported frequency of using hands-free devices, although numbers were small especially in the highest frequency categories.

We observed that participants on average underestimated the number of calls they made and received by a ratio of 0.65 (self-report to recorded), while they overestimated the duration of calls by a ratio of 1.11. The direction of underestimation/overestimation is consistent with most previous validation studies among adults; however, these studies reported higher ratios for both the number (ranging from 0.77 to 0.91) and duration (ranging from 1.39 to 1.45) of calls.7–9

An important finding was the significant impact of the level of phone use on the recall, that is, participants with a higher level of reported phone use were more likely to overestimate their number and duration of calls, while underestimation was more likely among participants who reported lower levels of use. The same trend was observed in the INTERPHONE study.8 ,9 This has important implications for epidemiological studies on mobile phone use, as it will most likely lead to an underestimation of the risk, if any, for adverse health outcomes. RF dose models based on the recalled number and duration of calls should therefore account for differential recall errors by level of phone use.

... we observed that the report of the current number and duration of calls at baseline (0 months) was not better than the recall after 6 months, although the baseline report and recall were covering different but consecutive time periods. This implies that people find it difficult to make an estimation of their mobile phone use, independent of time interval (at least within a 6-month time period). [My note: This suggests that prospective cohort studies (e.g., COSMOS) face the same exposure assessment problems as retrospective case-control studies (e.g. Interphone).

In conclusion, we used a smartphone app to record actual phone use, which had several advantages over previously used operator records, SMPs or HMPs for the validation of self-reported mobile phone use. Besides the recall error observed for the number and duration of calls, this was the first study that was able to explore the actual percentage of total call time that participants held their mobile phone close to the head, and the actual percentage of hands-free device usage. Our findings have implications for epidemiological studies exploring the possible health effects of RF emissions from mobile phones, in which the exposure assessment is based on people's recall.


Using software-modified smartphones to validate self-reported mobile phone use in young people: A pilot study

Goedhart G, Vrijheid M, Wiart J, Hours M, Kromhout H, Cardis E, Eastman Langer C, de Llobet Viladoms P, Massardier-Pilonchery A, Vermeulen R.
Using software-modified smartphones to validate self-reported mobile phone use in young people: A pilot study. Bioelectromagnetics. 2015 Jul 30. doi: 10.1002/bem.21931. [Epub ahead of print]

A newly developed smartphone application was piloted to characterize and validate mobile phone use in young people. Twenty-six volunteers (mean age 17.3 years) from France, Spain, and the Netherlands used a software-modified smartphone for 4 weeks; the application installed on the phone recorded number and duration of calls, data use, laterality, hands-free device usage, and communication system used for both voice calls and data transfer. Upon returning the phone, participants estimated their mobile phone use during those 4 weeks via an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Results indicated that participants on average underestimated the number of calls they made, while they overestimated total call duration. Participants held the phone for about 90% of total call time near the head, mainly on the side of the head they reported as dominant. Some limitations were encountered when comparing reported and recorded data use and speaker use. When applied in a larger sample, information recorded by the smartphone application will be very useful to improve radiofrequency (RF) exposure modeling from mobile phones to be used in epidemiological research.

Per week, the participants made on average 19 calls (standard deviation [SD]=13.2), spoke on the phone for 30.4 min (SD=28.8), and transferred 329.6 megabytes (MB) (SD=320.6) of data (Table 1).

... average number of calls and call duration increased statistically significantly with increasing age ...

... Participants from France had, on average, a higher number and duration of calls than participants from Spain and NL,

Spearman correlation coefficients between SMSP-recorded and self-reported number and duration of calls and data use were 0.75, 0.77, and 0.59, respectively (Fig. 3). On average, participants seemed to underestimate number of calls made and received (geometric mean ratio of self-reported to SMSP-recorded = 0.65, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.50–0.85). SMSP-recorded calls, however, also included unsuccessful outgoing calls (i.e., no connection); when excluding outgoing calls of 0–2 s (potentially unsuccessful calls, n=120), the geometric mean ratio increased to 0.68, 95%CI 0.53–0.89. Total call duration was on average overestimated by participants (geometric mean ratio =1.71, 95%CI 1.28–2.30).
Participants who reported generally using the phone on the right side of their head did so on average for 63.8% (95%CI 54.2–73.4%) of total call time as recorded by the SMSP. Self-reported left-side users held the phone on average for 76.9% (95%CI 61.1–92.7%) of total call time on the left side of their head.

While an overestimation of call duration was consistently observed in previous validation studies, both over- and underestimations of number of calls have been observed [Parslow et al., 2003; Samkange-Zeeb et al., 2004; Vrijheid et al., 2006a, 2009; Inyang et al., 2009; Aydin et al., 2011b].

Laterality measurements from a larger sample are required to estimate a more realistic exposure to both sides of the head.

According to Table 2, the sample tended to over-report right-sided use and under-report left-sided use

self-reported laterality:      77% mainly right side, 15% mainly left side, 8% both sides
SMSP-recorded laterality: 55% right side, 35% left side, 11% away from head


Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley

Electromagnetic Radiation Safety

News Releases:
Twitter:                 @berkeleyprc

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

An Electronic Silent Spring August, 2015 Newsletter from Katie Singer

An Electronic Silent Spring: August, 2015 Newsletter from Katie Singer 

It has come to my attention that the link to the back to school study guide in the August newsletter was not correct. We apologize for the confusion.  Please find the correct link below.

An Electronic Silent Spring  
August, 2015 Newsletter from Katie Singer 

1. A Movement to Reduce  
In the last several months, people have told me:
* real cultural change happens in groups of seven; 
* key laws, studies and solutions re EMR exposure need brief presentations;
* we need a movement of self-educators who reduce their EMR exposure
   and energy use.
          These ideas have inspired me to prepare study guides, including: 
          The Science and the Law on EMR Exposure
          Safer Tech Uses Less Energy
          Wi-Fi Problems & Solutions
          "Smart" Meter Problems & Solutions
          Electronic Interference & Medical Implants
          Fertility & Wireless Devices
          May these "guides" support discussions among neighbors, schools, work and church groups. May they help encourage a grassroots movement to reduce energy use and EMR exposure.
          Here's the first guide, geared toward parents and schools.

2. Tips for preventing cell towers: Get a copy of the deed to the property where the proposed tower will be rented. If it prohibits anything commercial on the land (for one example), and the landowner will receive rent from the telecom corporation, which will receive rent from other telecoms that place antennae on the tower, then you've got a good case against the tower's installation.
          If the area is key to migratory birds, then installing a tower there could violate the Dept. of the Interior's US Fish & Wildlife's Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
          If the proposed tower would be in a residential or business district--or an area with wildlife, then its collapsing or catching fire would be especially threatning to residents and/or sensitive habitats. Let local officials know about our growing list of towers that catch fire or collapse.
          Check out resources at
          Read B. Blake Levitt's classic, Electromagnetic Fields: A Consumer's Guide to the Issues and How to Protect Ourselves, Harcourt Brace, 1996.

2. For Friends Who Aim To Conceive or Already Pregnant Please see What You Need to Know About Wireless Radiation and Your Baby from the Environmental Health Trust. It includes clear advice from Dr. Hugh Taylor, the head of Yale Med Schl's Ob/Gyn Dept.

3. Expecting Electronic Interference (between fetal monitors, heart monitors and new technologies operating at 600 MHz)  In early August, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a rule that will allow unlicensed devices (i.e. bluetooth technologies, mobile phones, garage door openers) to operate on the same frequency as heart and fetal monitors used by hospitals. The FCC stands to gain $500 billion from licensing these devices at 600 MHz. Once operating, these devices will likely cause electronic interference with hospitals' heart and fetal monitors and prevent the monitors from functioning properly.
          The American Hospital Association has voiced opposition. In order to get clear on "technical" rules, three senators have asked for a three months' stay before licensing new technologies on the 600 MHz band.
          To learn more about the FCC's new ruling and medical monitoring equipment, please read on here:
          To learn more about electronic interference between common electronics and medical implants, please check out:

4. Comcast Xfinity WiFi   Please read Jereomy Johnson's explanation of why Comcast Xfinity WiFi may be harming people--and what you can do to reduce the harm.

5. Katie Singer's Upcoming talks:
October 10, Saturday, 9am-1pm, I'll speak at a conference about wireless technologies and public health, hosted by the Santa Clara (California) Medical Center, at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. My talk is titled "Electronics in Our Ecosystem." Other speakers include Cindy Russell, MD, Dr. Joel Moskowitz and Toril Jelter, MD. The event is $10.

October 15, Thursday, 1:30 pm, I'll speak about electronic interference with medical implants at the Santa Fe Parkinson's Group, Christus St. Vincent Wellness Center, 490 B West Zia. People and family members living with Parkinson's, cardiac pacemakers, insulin pumps and other implants--as well as members of the medical community are encouraged to attend. This event is by donation. For more info, contact

Thanks to everyone who's getting informed about the dangers of wireless technologies and reducing their electronics usage and EMR-emmissions.
          Check out previous newsletters in the archives:
          To help keep this newsletter going, please donate! ! Find the donate button at the bottom of the homepage at
          Katie Singer

Microwave frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) produce widespread neuropsychiatric effects including depression

Microwave frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) produce widespread neuropsychiatric effects including depression

Pall ML. Microwave frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) produce widespread neuropsychiatric effects including depression. J Chem Neuroanat. 2015 Aug 20. pii: S0891-0618(15)00059-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2015.08.001. [Epub ahead of print]


• Microwave EMFs activate voltage-gated Ca2+ channels (VGCCs) concentrated in the brain
• Animal studies show such low level MWV EMFs have diverse high impacts in the brain
 VGCC activity causes widespread neuropsychiatric effects in humans (genetic studies)
• 26 studies have EMFs assoc. with neuropsychiatric effects; 5 criteria show causality
• MWV EMFs cause at least 13 neuropsychiatric effects including depression in humans

Non-thermal microwave/lower frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) act via voltage-gated calcium channel (VGCC) activation. Calcium channel blockers block EMF effects and several types of additional evidence confirm this mechanism. Low intensity microwave EMFs have been proposed to produce neuropsychiatric effects, sometimes called microwave syndrome, and the focus of this review is whether these are indeed well documented and consistent with the known mechanism(s) of action of such EMFs. 

VGCCs occur in very high densities throughout the nervous system and have near universal roles in release of neurotransmitters and neuroendocrine hormones. Soviet and Western literature shows that much of the impact of non-thermal microwave exposures in experimental animals occurs in the brain and peripheral nervous system, such that nervous system histology and function show diverse and substantial changes. These may be generated through roles of VGCC activation, producing excessive neurotransmitter/neuroendocrine release as well as oxidative/nitrosative stress and other responses. Excessive VGCC activity has been shown from genetic polymorphism studies to have roles in producing neuropsychiatric changes in humans. 

Two U.S. government reports from the 1970's-80's provide evidence for many neuropsychiatric effects of non-thermal microwave EMFs, based on occupational exposure studies. 18 more recent epidemiological studies, provide substantial evidence that microwave EMFs from cell/mobile phone base stations, excessive cell/mobile phone usage and from wireless smart meters can each produce similar patterns of neuropsychiatric effects, with several of these studies showing clear dose-response relationships. Lesser evidence from 6 additional studies suggests that short wave, radio station, occupational and digital TV antenna exposures may produce similar neuropsychiatric effects. 

Among the more commonly reported changes are sleep disturbance/insomnia, headache, depression/depressive symptoms, fatigue/tiredness,dysesthesia, concentration/attention dysfunction, memory changes, dizziness, irritability, loss of appetite/body weight, restlessness/anxiety, nausea, skin burning/tingling/dermographism and EEG changes. 

In summary, then, the mechanism of action of microwave EMFs, the role of the VGCCs in the brain, the impact of non-thermal EMFs on the brain, extensive epidemiological studies performed over the past 50 years, and five criteria testing for causality, all collectively show that various non-thermal microwave EMF exposures produce diverse neuropsychiatric effects.


Table 4. Commonly Reported Neuropsychiatric Symptoms following Microwave EMF Exposure
Symptom(s)Numbers of studies reporting
Sleep disturbance/insomnia17
Depression/depressive symptoms10
Dysesthesia (vision/hearing/olfactory dysfunction)10
Concentration/attention/cognitive dysfunction10
Memory changes8
Restlessness/tension/anxiety/stress/agitation/feeling of discomfort8
Loss of appetite/body weight6
Skin tingling/burning/inflammation/dermographism6


Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley

Electromagnetic Radiation Safety

News Releases:
Twitter:                 @berkeleyprc

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Response to BMJ article Should all NHS premises provide free access to Wi-Fi?

Response to BMJ article Should all NHS premises provide free access to Wi-Fi?

Andrew Tresidder wrote

in response to the original article

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 12 August 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4098

Re: Should all NHS premises provide free access to wi-fi?

Just a jobbing GP, I have seen a number of people over the years with headaches and poor sleep - which have got better by minimising unnecessary exposure to cordless phones, wifi and other RF (radiofrequency or microwave) devices, and returned when re-exposed. It is always good to remove an avoidable cause (like a stone in your shoe causing pain in the foot) rather than just treating the symptoms.

This interest has led me to become a trustee of the charity ES-UK, (Electro-sensitivity UK, and meet a number of people severely affected by transmitting technology, to the point where some of them have to give up their jobs, and a few even avoid contact with much of life as we all take for granted. To me, the technology of wifi and the like is wonderful - but, it has been rolled out on the flawed presumption that it is harm-free.

Affected people experience symptoms from exposure to RF transmissions, which include headaches, brain fog, inability to think clearly, speech disturbance, palpitations, sleep disturbance, epistaxis, fatigue, dizziness, vertigo, odd pains and tinglings in limbs - and interestingly ants exposed to wifi lose their ability to forage and die, amongst other creatures affected by non-thermal effects. Prevalence in the population is estimated at 3-5%, mainly undiagnosed.

Unfortunately, there is a common misperception that this is due to a nocebo effect - but the sham used in some trials was actually biologically active. CFS/ME and the Gulf War syndrome were both initially thought to be psychological disturbances by some investigators, since disproved.

The Austrian Medical Association has published guidelines on the topic

It is unfortunate that transmitting technology is so useful, and so widespread - because this leads us all to believe that it cannot be harmful. However, in the insurance industry Lloyds of London have withdrawn health liability cover for wifi routers.

Current UK safety limits for RF are based upon the flawed misapprehension that non-thermal = non-harmful, and at present there are no plans to review this. Basically, if it doesn’t start to cook you in six minutes, it’s safe…..

It has been known for well over 30 years that there are non-thermal (signal) effects of RF. Russian and other safety limits are much lower than UK. Non-thermal biological effects of exposure to RF (microwave) signal include increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier, failure of repair of DNA breaks, heat shock protein synthesis, cellular calcium efflux, sympathetic upregulation and others. RF is currently classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a Class 2b possible carcinogen. Other research shows adverse effects on semen quality amongst other biological effects.

History tells us that technological advance ALWAYS precedes safety considerations in all industries (see use of car safety belts, Xrays and asbestos for example), and the rollout of 24 hour transmitting wifi, cordless phones, and other technology has been on the presumption of no harm.

Management of ES is currently problematical – but must include a minimising of the exposure to the person. It is not helpful to ignore them, especially as they may already be in conflict with family members who refuse to believe that there can be a problem (on the basis that 1 they are unaffected and 2 they cannot understand how something that is outside their own experience, and that you cannot see hear touch taste or smell can be harmful). However, physiological effects can occur from the electromagnetic spectrum not sensed by our specialised organs of sense – whilst within the spectrum of detection, our eyes are capable to detecting light intensity down to a single photon, and our ears a billionth of a watt – these are also non-thermal effects). Organisms have been magnetosensitive for over 2 billion years, so it would not be surprising to find that humans also are sensitive to fields perceived as noxious!

Consideration for people who are ES will ensure a precautionary principle is used, and should ensure that all NHS premises provide designated shielded clinical and care areas where signal is at a minimum as measured by detectors - this will include attending staff putting devices onto airplane mode. Education about the issue is important, otherwise health staff will manage the affected person to the detriment of their health. and have useful material, whilst an excellent scientific overview is from Dr Erica Mallery-Blythe on, complemented by the Bristol University site from Prof Denis Henshaw

Competing interests: Trustee of ES-UK charity, (Electro-sensitivity UK Co-author with Michael Bevington of Electrosensitivity, Symptoms, Sources and Solutions, Chapter 47 in Textbook of Bioelectromagnetic