• 14 DEC 05
    • 0

    More on that Australian study on depression and geomagnetic storms

    The following article from The Times of India is a better reporting of that Australian study on depression and geomagnetic storms between 1968 and 2002. I contacted the Irishhealth.com for the reference for their story and all they could say was thay they had deleted it!

    The Times of India:
    (Sent by Robert Reidlinger)

    Mobile phone “smog” could be aiding depression

    [ Monday, December 12, 2005 11:36:43 amPTI ]

    NEW DELHI: Concerns expressed on possible effects of mobile phones on humans have been dismissed by people involved in the business, but a recent research suggests that the electromagnetic “smog” from mobile phones and electronic goods could be playing a role in aiding depression.

    In a study done in Australia pertaining to the period between 1968 and 2002, the researchers came to the conclusion that the suicide rates increased during geomagnetic storms, triggered by solar flares during these years.

    “The sample was huge, involving 51,845 males and 16,327 females between 1968 and 2002. It would be useful to replicate this again; we did a previous study and found similar results. This suggests that electromagnetic radiation does affect behaviour,” says Prof Michael Berk, Department of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia.

    The study by Prof Berk came in support of the hypothesis that mood, and indeed suicidal thoughts, can be influenced by disturbances in the electromagnetic field in our environment and may have an adverse impact on mental health.
    Man-made disturbances in the electromagnetic field are those caused by the power distribution grid and electrical devices. It is here that the day to day devices like microwave ovens and mobile devices that emit magnetic fields come into the picture.

    According to Prof Berk, two previous, but less comprehensive studies had also shown a positive relationship between geomagnetic storm activity and an increased incidence of suicide.

    Blood pressure was shown to increase significantly for males and females when there was an increase in geomagnetic activity. A positive trend was also noticed between geomagnetic activity and subjective psycho-physiological complaints.

    On the connection between mobile phones and depression, doctors are sceptical. “Depression is a psychiatric disorder and I am sure in 99 per cent case, it is the case. This is not seasonal as the study suggests,” says Dr. Samir Parikh, a Consultant Psychiatrist here. “Magnetic field exposure is not a sufficient cause of depression or suicide,” he says. “Moreover, electromagnetic radiation is not always dangerous. Extremely high frequencies of electromagnetic waves (EHF-therapy) are used by doctors to treat various forms of depression in the western countries,” says Dr Parikh.

    “We cannot be sure what mobiles phones etc do and their effects may differ. This suggests at least that we should look,” says Prof Berk.

    In another study done this year on the impact of standard mobile exposure on 18 children 10-12 years of age, it was noticed that there was a tendency for reaction time to be shorter during exposure to microwave radiation. Further, the scientist involved in the study were of the opinion that effects of radiation from a GSM handset could be different from a analogue handset.

    So what do the studies done so far on mobile devices’ effects say? They are inconclusive and that’s the way the mobile manufacturers would like to see them.

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