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Brain Activity in Rats Exposed to Short-Term External Electrical Fields

Description: The effects of external electric fields (EEF) on brain activity in anesthetized rats were studied. The field strengths used, 9 kV/m and 5 kV/m, both D.C. and A.C. (60Hz) were in the range of those measured beneath current overhead transmission lines. Brain activity was monitored from surface electrodes and from electrodes stereotaxically implanted in the posterior-lateral portion of the hypothalamus. It was found that 9 kV/m and 5 kV/m EEF's both D.C. and A.C. brought about statistically significant changes in hypothalamic activity, however, the effects were bi-directional, (i.e. increases and decreases). Only seven of the 60 animals exposed showed changes in the EEG recorded with surface electrodes. The data clearly indicate that (1) anesthetized animals do respond to a change in the external electric field around them, (2) the hypothalamus may contain special electro-receptors that, in turn, may alter various other physiological processes, and (3) the data indicates the need for further research to help government agencies to establish more adequate safety guidelines.
Date: May 1985
Creator: Hines, Gregory M. (Gregory Manuel)