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Biophysics Reveals Additional Dangers From Cell Phones

This is not the first time cell phones have been blamed for harming humans.  Previous reports have cited excessive cell phone use as the cause for some brain tumors.  Now, the Institute of Science in Society in Great Britain sent out a news release this month that will make you rethink your constant use of EMF-producing modern conveniences.

Researchers are discovering new problems as they look into our modern conveniences that produce EMF radiation. The “Techno Age” is creating complex problems that are not easily understood by science.  Consumer electronics manufacturers are creating new inventions and mass marketing them before any effective research can be done to see if it can harm our environment, our health and our lives.

Serious Brain Damage Unaccounted For
A highly reproducible non-thermal effect of mobile (cellular) phones depends on interaction between protein and water.  Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, director and co-founder of the ISIS, says it brings us closer to understanding the biophysics involved in how weak electromagnetic radiation can have biological effects.

The most striking effect of exposure to the radio- frequency (RF) radiation from cell phones is damage to the brain and brain cells of rats, which were found at levels of exposure far below the current safety limits. After just two hours of such exposure, blood albumin leaked into the brain, causing brain cells to die; and the effects lasted for at least 50 days after a single exposure. But no clear mechanism has emerged to explain this or other ‘non-thermal’ effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) even after a concerted, Europe-wide research program.     

I've suggested that phase changes in cell water triggered by EMF's may be involved in causing many biological effects, but there has been a complete lack of support for research in that area.  Now, new research findings make that suggestion a great deal more plausible.

A ‘breakthrough’ in identifying mechanisms?

Researchers at the University of Rome (Italy) led by Mario Barteri in the Chemistry Department report striking changes in a solution of an enzyme after exposure to RF radiation from cell phones. This is the first time such a simple, reproducible, in vitro system has been devised to study the effects of EMF's to my knowledge.

The enzyme, acetylcholine esterase, involved in transmitting nerve signals from the brain to the skeletal muscle, has been purified and studied in great detail, and commercial preparations are readily available. The researchers chose to study the acetylcholine esterase from the electric eel.   

The enzyme was dissolved in a buffer solution in water and identical samples were exposed to RF radiation within the range of 915 to 1822 megahertz for 1 to 50 minutes, while the control (unexposed) was wrapped securely in aluminum foil to screen the RF radiation. A commercial cellular phone was used as the source of RF radiation at a specific absorption rate (SAR) of 0.51W/kg, with the cell phone operating in the receiving mode.

After exposing the enzyme solution, the researchers used a range of physical measurement techniques to characterize the changes.  First they passed the solutions down a gel filtration column, which separates protein molecules by size. At short irradiation times between 1 to 10 minutes, no difference from the unexposed control was found; a single protein peak was identified, representing the enzyme in its usual ‘dimeric’ form consisting of two protein units associated together. However, after 20 minutes or more, a new peak was formed in addition to the old, the new peak representing the monomeric or dissociated form of the protein. This profile remained stable after one day at room temperature, showing that irreversible change had taken place in the solution.

Measurements on the rate constants of the enzyme activity similarly indicated that up to 10 minutes of RF radiation exposure had no effect.  But after 20 minutes or more, the rate constants changed dramatically, which was consistent with previous findings from another laboratory reporting an increase in the enzyme activity in mice after 20 minutes exposure to cell phone radiation.     

This change in the kinetic properties of the enzyme was apparently not accompanied by change in the three- dimensional shape (conformation) of the protein, at least as measured by circular dichroism (a technique for characterizing the shape of molecules based on measuring the unequal absorption of right and left plane-polarized light).   

Measurement by X-ray scattering, however, revealed a drastic change in the collective organization of the protein in solution, which suggested that a phase of ‘hydrogel’ had separated out from the main solution. This hydrogel was made up of monomeric protein molecules associated with lots of water molecules to form a collective phase.

Finally, the researchers took a scanning electron micrograph of the control and the exposed sample, which showed the marked difference. The native, unexposed sample appeared as a random suspension of enzyme molecules, whereas the irradiated sample appeared as a highly oriented sample with a regular periodic pattern.

RF radiation trigger interaction of enzyme protein with water

The enzyme protein has a very strong negative charge near the entrance to the ‘gorge’ containing the active site (where the substrate is bound), which gives a strong dipole (separated positive and negative electric charges) oriented along the gorge. This makes the protein sensitive to fluctuations of the electric field generated by the RF radiation from the cellular phone, which in turn perturbs the dipoles of the water molecules, resulting in the formation of the hydrogel.

Furthermore, the researchers carried out nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) measurements on the proton spin relaxation times (T1) of the water molecules. For bulk water, the relaxation time was 2983+27; for native enzyme dissolved in water, it was 470+25; for enzyme exposed to RF radiation for 20 min, it was 260+32, and exposed for 50 min, 220+38. The results, once again, are consistent with the increased interaction of enzyme protein with water molecules that one would find in a hydrogel.   

The researchers said, rightly, that the results “cannot be used to conclude whether exposure to RF during the use of cellular phone can lead to any hazardous health effect”; but “they may be a significant model to verify these effects on other biological systems.”   

I believe however that these results are important in contributing to our understanding of ‘non-thermal’ effects: they are mediated through the collective structure of water, especially as conceived by a number of key researchers in biological water.

Collective structure of water important?
The phenomena observed by Barteri and co- workers depend on the collective structure of water, which effectively sums and amplifies the effect of weak EMF's. It provides the mechanism for non-thermal effects that conventional scientists find so “inconceivable,” largely out of ignorance.     

The results also appear to be consistent with the work of researchers who made pioneering discoveries on water in the cell. Gilbert Ling, in particular, first proposed that water molecules form polarized multi-layers over extended protein surfaces inside the cells. This proposal received remarkable confirmation recently in an in vitro system and in the cell.  It is also consistent with findings in my own laboratory that the water in living organisms is an intrinsic part of the liquid crystalline continuum of the body.   

The hydrogel created by Barteri and colleagues after exposing the enzyme solution to RF radiation are very likely to consist of multi-layers of polarized water molecules on extended protein surfaces. The RF radiation acts as a trigger to dissociate the protein dimmers into monomers and to interact with water without, however, destroying enzyme activity.  If anything it appeared to have increased enzyme activity.     

The findings of Barteri’s team are also consistent with the proposals of Martin Chaplin and Frank Mayer, that water switches between a low- and high-density phase with very different interactions between proteins and water molecules that change enzyme activities and cell function.     

Martin Chaplin expresses surprise at the result, as did the authors of the research paper. “The jellification would seem to be very specific to the properties of that particular enzyme. The process by which the radiation increases the hydration of the protein and causes its dissociation can be explained, but [is possibly] an extreme case of what can occur.” He adds, “The work does show how the power of water to hydrate molecules increases when the ‘normal’ hydrogen bonding is disrupted; and also that the change in hydration may not be readily reversible. I doubt if any present computer model of water could reproduce this phenomenon.”

We can no longer accept the mantra that there is no “conceivable” mechanism that could explain non-thermal effects of EMF's and that the current EMF exposure limits may well be harmful.

Translated Conclusion: Science is beginning to discover ways to research EMF’s the suggested minimal exposures to EMF’s are no longer acceptable as harmless.
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