Does short-term exposure to Wi-Fi waves affect the cognitive functions of the mind?

Document Type: Conference Proceedings

Authors

1 Ionizing and Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection Research Center (INIRPRC), Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 Department of Occupational Health, School of Health and Nutrition, Shiraz University of Medical Science, Shiraz, Iran

3 Research Center Consultation (RCC), Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

4 Institute for Advanced Biomedical Technologies, Chieti, Italy

5 Department of Radiology, School of Paramedical Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

Abstract

Introduction: In recent years, we have seen a tremendous growth in communications devices, such as mobiles and tablets. Also, the appeal to connect to the Internet through wireless systems has increased significantly. Given these changes in everyday life, the approach to cognitive works and problem-solving and decision-making in a complex system that has become increasingly important. Hence, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of short-term exposure to Wi-Fi waves on cognitive functions of the mind.
Materials and Methods: After obtaining permission from the local ethic committee of Shiraz University of Medical Sciences (IR.SUMS.REC.1394.72), 45 male and female students volunteered to participate in this study. The present study was a quasi-experimental research in which pre-test and post-test was used without a control group. To this end, participants were exposed to irradiation in two seasons: Sham (without the presence of waves) and exposure (with irradiation). During each season, participants were exposed to radiation in a direction perpendicular to their head and at a distance of 1.5 meters away from the antenna of the Wi-Fi router (D- Link, China). Upon completion, a couple of tests, such as short-term memory, reaction time, and reasoning were performed at the end of each session. Also, the electric field strength and power density of the waves were calculated at the mentioned distance.
Results: The statistical analysis of the data showed that there was no statistically significant difference in the mean scores for the participants’ short-term memory, reaction time, and reasoning between the sham and exposure group. On the other hand, the calculated values of the electric field strength and power density of the waves were within the range permitted by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
Conclusion: With the development of communication devices, concerns about their effects on human health including cognitive function of the mind are increasing. Our findings suggested that short-term exposure to Wi-Fi waves has no significant effect on the cognitive function of the mind, and this can reduce concerns in this regard.

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