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UK: Verband tussen babyfoons en autisme. Een serieuze waarschuwing voor jonge ouders.    
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UK: Verband tussen babyfoons en autisme. Een serieuze waarschuwing voor jonge ouders.
maandag, 20 juni 2011 - Dossier: Algemeen


Andrew Goldsworthy May 2011

What is autism?
Autism is in fact a group of life-long disorders (autistic spectrum disorders or ASD)
caused by brain malfunctions and is associated with subtle changes in brain anatomy
(see Amaral et al. 2008 for a review). The core symptoms are an inability to
communicate adequately with others and include abnormal social behaviour, poor
verbal and non-verbal communication, unusual and restricted interests, and persistent
repetitive behaviour. There are also non-core symptoms, such as an increased risk of
epileptic seizures, anxiety and mood disorders. ASD has a strong genetic component,
occurs predominantly in males and tends to run in families.

Genetic ASD may be caused by calcium entering neurons
It has been hypothesised that some genetic forms of ASD can be accounted for by
known mutations in the genes for ion channels that result in an increased background
concentration of calcium in neurons. This would be expected to lead to neuronal
hyperactivity, the formation of sometimes unnecessary and inappropriate synapses,
which in turn can lead to ASD (Krey and Dolmetsch 2007).

Electromagnetic fields let calcium into neurons, too
There has been a 60-fold increase in ASD in recent years, which cannot be accounted
for by improvements in diagnostic methods and can only be explained by changes in
the environment. This increase corresponds in time to the proliferation of mobile
telecommunications, WiFi, and microwave ovens as well as extremely low frequency
fields (ELF) from mains wiring and domestic appliances. We can now explain this in
terms of electromagnetically-induced membrane leakage leading to brain
hyperactivity and abnormal brain development.

Non-ionising radiation makes cell membranes leak
The first effect of non-ionising electromagnetic radiation is to generate small
alternating voltages across the cell membranes, which destabilize them and make
them leak. This can have all sorts of consequences as unwanted substances diffuse
into and out of cells unhindered, and materials in different parts of the cell that are
normally kept separate, become mixed.

Why weak fields are more damaging than strong ones
We have known since the work of Suzanne Bawin and her co-workers (Bawin et al.
1975) that modulated radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation that is far too weak to
cause significant heating can nevertheless remove calcium ions (positively charged
calcium atoms) from cell membranes in the brain. Later, Carl Blackman showed that
this also occurs with extremely low frequency electromagnetic radiation (ELF) but
only within one or more 'amplitude windows', above and below which there is little
or no effect (Blackman et al. 1982; Blackman 1990). A proposed molecular
mechanism for this can be found in Goldsworthy (2010). In particular, it explains why
weak electromagnetic fields can have a greater effect than strong ones and why
prolonged exposure to weak fields (where cells are maintained in the unstable
condition for longer) is potentially more damaging than relatively brief exposure to
much stronger ones.

How calcium ions stabilize cell membranes
This loss of calcium is important because calcium ions bind to and stabilize the
negatively charged membranes of living cells. They sit between the negatively
charged components of the cell membrane and bind them together rather like mortar
binds together the bricks in a wall. Loss of just some of these calcium ions destabilize
the membrane and make it more inclined to leak, which can have serious metabolic
consequences. Among these are the effects of membrane leakage on the neurons of
the brain.

How membrane leakage affects neurons
Neurons transmit information between one another in the form of chemical
neurotransmitters that pass across the synapses where they make contact. However,
the release of these is normally triggered by a brief pulse of calcium entering the cell.
If the membrane is leaky due to electromagnetic exposure, it will already have a high
internal calcium concentration as calcium leaks in from the much higher
concentration outside. The effect of this is to put the cells into hair-trigger mode so
that they are more likely to release neurotransmitters and the brain as a whole may
become hyperactive (Beason and Semm 2002; Krey and Dolmetsch 2007, Volkow et
al. 2011). This may not be a good thing since the brain may become overloaded
leading to a loss of concentration and what we now call attention deficit hyperactive
disorder (ADHD).

How does this impact on autism?
Before and just after its birth, a child's brain is essentially a blank canvas, and it goes
through an intense period of learning to become aware of the significance of all of its
new sensory inputs, e.g. to recognise its mother's face, her expressions and eventually
other people and their relationship to him/her (Hawley & Gunner 2000). During this
process, the neurons in the brain make countless new connections, the patterns of
which store what the child has learnt. However, after a matter of months, connections
that are rarely used are pruned automatically (Huttenlocher & Dabholkar 1997) so that
those that remain are hard-wired into the child 's psyche. The production of too many
and often spurious signals due to electromagnetic exposure during this period will
generate frequent random connections, which will also not be pruned, even though
they may not make sense. It may be significant that autistic children tend to have
slightly larger heads, possibly to accommodate unpruned neurons (Hill & Frith 2003).

Because the pruning process in electromagnetically-exposed children may be more
random, it could leave the child with a defective hard-wired mind-set for social
interactions, which may then contribute to the various autistic spectrum disorders.
These children are not necessarily unintelligent; they may even have more brain cells
than the rest of us and some may actually be savants. They may just be held back
from having a normal life by a deficiency in the dedicated hard-wired neural networks
needed for efficient communication with others.

A useful homology might be in the socialisation of dogs. If puppies do not meet and
interact with other dogs within the first four months of their life (equivalent to about
two human years), they too develop autistic behaviour. They become withdrawn,
afraid of other dogs and strangers, and are incapable of normal 'pack' behaviour.
Once this four-month window has passed, the effect seems to be irreversible (just like
autism). If this homology is correct, it suggests that experiments on dogs could hold
the key to the investigation of autism and its possible links with electromagnetic

Amaral DG, Schumann CM, Nordahl CW (2008), Neuroanatomy of Autism, Trends
in Neurosciences 31: 137-145
Bawin SM, Kaczmarek KL, Adey WR (1975), Effects of modulated VHF fields on
the central nervous system. Ann NY Acad Sci 247: 74-81
Beason RC, Semm P (2002), Responses of neurons to an amplitude modulated
microwave stimulus. Neuroscience Letters 333: 175-178
Blackman CF (1990), ELF effects on calcium homeostasis. In: Wilson BW, Stevens
RG, Anderson LE (eds) Extremely Low Frequency Electromagnetic Fields: the
Question of Cancer. Battelle Press, Columbus, Ohio, pp 189-208
Blackman CF, Benane SG, Kinney LS, House DE, Joines WT (1982), Effects of ELF
fields on calcium-ion efflux from brain tissue in vitro. Radiation Research 92: 510-
Goldsworthy A (2010) , Witness Statement, mcsamerica.
Hawley T, Gunner M (2000), How early experiences affect brain development.
Hill EL, Frith U (2003), Understanding autism: insights from mind and brain. Phil
Trans R Soc Lond B 358 281-289
Huttenlocher PR, Dabholkar AS (1997) Regional differences in synaptogenesis in
human cerebral cortex. J Comparative Neurology 387 167-178
Krey JF, Dolmetsch RE (2007) Molecular mechanisms of autism: a possible role for
Ca2+ signaling. Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 17: 112-119
Volkow ND, Tomasi D, Wang G, Vaska P, Fowler JS, Telang F, Alexoff D, Logan J,
Wong C (2011), Effects of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Signal Exposure on Brain
Glucose Metabolism. JAMA. 305 (8):808-813. doi: 10.1001/jama.2011.186

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