First Study on 4G/LTE Cell Phone Radiation Shows It Affects Brain Activity

New peer-reviewed research finds that 30 minutes’ exposure to LTE [4G] cellphone radiation affects brain activity on both sides of the brain.


PRLog (Press Release)Sep. 23, 2013BERKELEY, Calif.The first study on the short-term effects of Long Term Evolution (LTE), the fourth generation cell phone technology, has been published online in the peer-reviewed journal, Clinical Neurophysiology. (1)

Brain images pre- and post-LTE (4G) exposure

In a controlled experiment, researchers exposed the right ear of 18 participants to LTE cellphone radiation for 30 minutes. The source of the radiation was 1 centimeter from the ear, and the absorbed amount of radiation in the brain was well within international (ICNIRP) cell phone legal limits. The researchers employed a double-blind, crossover, randomized and counter-balanced design to eliminate any possible study biases.The resting state brain activity of each participant was measured by magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at two times — after exposure to LTE microwave radiation, and after a sham exposure.

The results demonstrated that LTE exposure affected brain neural activity not only in the closer brain region but also in the remote region, including the left hemisphere of the brain. The study helps explain the underlying neural mechanism for the remote effects of microwave radiation in the brain.

In 2011, Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, published a similar study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that received worldwide news coverage. Dr. Volkow reported that a 50 minute exposure to CDMA, a second generation cell phone technology, increased brain activity in the region of the brain closest to the cell phone. (2)

The current study establishes that short-term exposure to LTE microwave radiation affects the users’ brain activity. Although LTE is too new for the long-term health consequences to have been studied, we have considerable evidence that long-term cell phone use is associated with various health risks including increased risk of head and neck cancers, sperm damage, and reproductive health consequences for offspring (i.e., ADHD).

Cell phone users, especially pregnant women and children, should limit their cell phone use. Moreover, cell phone users should not keep their phones near their head, breasts or reproductive organs when using the phone or whenever the phone is turned on unless it is in airplane mode.

For more information about the health effects of cell phone radiation see my Electromagnetic Radiation Safety Web site at

Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.
School of Public Health Health
University of California, Berkeley

Electromagnetic Radiation Safety

Twitter: @berkeleyprc


(1) Bin Lv, Zhiye Chen, Tongning Wu, Qing Shao, Duo Yan, Lin Ma, Ke Lu, Yi Xie. The alteration of spontaneous low frequency oscillations caused by acute electromagnetic fields exposure. Clinical Neurophysiology. Published online 4 September 2013.


Objective The motivation of this study is to evaluate the possible alteration of regional resting state brain activity induced by the acute radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) exposure (30 min) of Long Term Evolution (LTE) signal.

Methods  We designed a controllable near-field LTE RF-EMF exposure environment. Eighteen subjects participated in a double-blind, crossover, randomized and counterbalanced experiment including two sessions (real and sham exposure). The radiation source was close to the right ear. Then the resting state fMRI signals of human brain were collected before and after the exposure in both sessions. We measured the amplitude of low frequency fluctuation (ALFF) and fractional ALFF (fALFF) to characterize the spontaneous brain activity.

Results We found the decreased ALFF value around in left superior temporal gyrus, left middle temporal gyrus, right superior temporal gyrus, right medial frontal gyrus and right paracentral lobule after the real exposure. And the decreased fALFF value was also detected in right medial frontal gyrus and right paracentral lobule.

Conclusions The study provided the evidences that 30 min LTE RF-EMF exposure modulated the spontaneous low frequency fluctuations in some brain regions.

Significance  With resting state fMRI, we found the alteration of spontaneous low frequency fluctuations induced by the acute LTE RF-EMF exposure.

(2) Volkow ND, Tomasi D, Wang GJ, Vaska P, Fowler JS, Telang F, Alexoff D, Logan J, Wong C. Effects of cell phone radiofrequency signal exposure on brain glucose metabolism. JAMA. 2011 Feb 23;305(8):808-13. doi: 10.1001/jama.2011.186.


CONTEXT:  The dramatic increase in use of cellular telephones has generated concern about possible negative effects of radiofrequency signals delivered to the brain. However, whether acute cell phone exposure affects the human brain is unclear.

OBJECTIVE:  To evaluate if acute cell phone exposure affects brain glucose metabolism, a marker of brain activity.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:  Randomized crossover study conducted between January 1 and December 31, 2009, at a single US laboratory among 47 healthy participants recruited from the community. Cell phones were placed on the left and right ears and positron emission tomography with ((18)F) fluorodeoxyglucose injection was used to measure brain glucose metabolism twice, once with the right cell phone activated (sound muted) for 50 minutes (“on” condition) and once with both cell phones deactivated (“off” condition). Statistical parametric mapping was used to compare metabolism between on and off conditions using paired t tests, and Pearson linear correlations were used to verify the association of metabolism and estimated amplitude of radiofrequency-modulated electromagnetic waves emitted by the cell phone. Clusters with at least 1000 voxels (volume >8 cm(3)) and P < .05 (corrected for multiple comparisons) were considered significant.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:   Brain glucose metabolism computed as absolute metabolism (μmol/100 g per minute) and as normalized metabolism (region/whole brain).

RESULTS:  Whole-brain metabolism did not differ between on and off conditions. In contrast, metabolism in the region closest to the antenna (orbitofrontal cortex and temporal pole) was significantly higher for on than off conditions (35.7 vs 33.3 μmol/100 g per minute; mean difference, 2.4 [95% confidence interval, 0.67-4.2]; P = .004). The increases were significantly correlated with the estimated electromagnetic field amplitudes both for absolute metabolism (R = 0.95, P < .001) and normalized metabolism (R = 0.89; P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS:   In healthy participants and compared with no exposure, 50-minute cell phone exposure was associated with increased brain glucose metabolism in the region closest to the antenna. This finding is of unknown clinical significance.


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  1. sir we are the resi. of partap nagar patiala next house plan to fix 4g tower pls tells its harmfull or not

    • The health risks presented by a 4G cell tower will depend on the proximity of the tower to your home and the relative power density measurements in and around your property. We would recommend you try to get a piece of detection equipment to assess the power density that you are being exposed to (we recommend you look into whether Gigahertz solutions have suppliers local to you or can ship to India). You can compare the readings with effects reported in the BioInitiative Report 2007-2012 ( which was written by independent (as opposed to industry-funded) scientists. The above study on the effects of a single 4G/LTE phone would suggest that living next to a 4G/LTE cell tower is not recommended and there are certainly many, many studies showing a correlation between resident proximity to GSM/3G cell towers and pathology.

      You may be able to buy shielding material to block the signals, such as specially designed paints and wallpapers, but the best bet it to try to get the tower removed if possible – this has been done successfully in other parts of India because of health concerns.

      Best of luck.

  2. “This finding is of unknown clinical significance.”

    Now, I’d like to point out how pathetically small the author of this article has quoted from the conclusions… there is 6&1/2 pages worth of conclusions/discussions/limitations…. and only a very small, cherry-picked portion was selected.

    “Concern has been raised by the possibility that RF-EMFs emitted by cell phones may induce brain cancer.30 Epidemiologic studies assessing the relationship between cell phone use and rates of brain cancers are inconclusive; some report an association,31–33 whereas others do not.34–36 Results of this study provide evidence that acute cell phone exposure affects brain metabolic activity. However, these results provide no information as to their relevance regarding potential carcinogenic effects (or lack of such effects) from chronic cell phone use.”

    Limitations of this study include that it is not possible to ascertain whether the findings pertain to potential harmful effects of RF-EMF exposures or only document that the brain is affected by these exposures. Also, this study does not provide an understanding of the mechanism(s) by which RF-EMF exposures increase brain metabolism, and although we interpret these exposures as indicators of neuronal excitation, further studies are necessary to corroborate this. Lastly, this model assumes a linear relationship between the amplitude of the radiofrequency field and its effects in neuronal tissue, but we cannot rule out the possibility that this relationship could be nonlinear.

    In summary, this study provides evidence that in humans RF-EMF exposure from cell phone use affects brain function, as shown by the regional increases in metabolic activity. It also documents that the observed effects were greatest in brain regions that had the highest amplitude of RF-EMF emissions (for the specific cell phones used in this study and their position relative to the head when in use), which suggests that the metabolic increases are secondary to the absorption of RF-EMF energy emitted by the cell phone. Further studies are needed to assess if these effects could have potential long-term harmful consequences.

    It’s best to read the full conclusions. Not cherry-pick, or take the author’s of the article word for it.

    • To be clear, your comment refers to the Abstract of the article’s second reference, and not the main 4G/LTE study that the post and the article centres on.

      The article’s original author, Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., drew his content directly – and in full – from the original Pubmed study abstracts, so your criticism appears to be unfounded. He also included links to both pubmed abstracts/publications.