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EMF & Brain Health: How EMF Exposure Affects Your Brain’s Functioning

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Curiosity, creativity, problem-solving, information processing, and understanding emotions: these are the qualities that make humans superior to all other beings on this planet. And they are only possible because of “the crowning achievement of evolution” — the brain. Research studies show that man-made EMF, an invention of that very brain, is also responsible for the deterioration of our brain health.

The concept of human-made EMF is fairly new on the evolutionary scale, which means that our bodies are also not developed to face the high amounts of it that exist in our environment right now. And with the rapid advancement of technology, EMF pollution in our environment is getting worse. This causes our bodies, and more importantly, our very sensitive brains, to take critical hits every single day.

Studies say that constant EMF exposure causes a range of brain-related problems, which we’ll have a deeper look at in the upcoming sections of this post. And while we’re on the topic, you’ll also learn how you can reduce your EMF exposure and keep your brain in good health.

Albumin Leakage Through the Blood-Brain Barrier

A Swedish research group that has been studying EMF’s effects on the blood-brain barrier (BBB) since 1998 found that EMF exposure weakens the BBB’s integrity and causes significant albumin leakage in the brain.

Albumin is a protein in your blood that helps with physical growth and tissue repair. However, even though its presence in the blood is crucial for the body, it causes adverse effects if it enters the brain. Hence the existence of the blood-brain barrier.

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The BBB acts as an additional boundary between the circulating blood and the extracellular space of the brain, preventing proteins like albumin from entering your brain.

Albumin’s presence in the brain can create disorders like epilepsy and diseases like multiple sclerosis. Additionally, if you have any underlying conditions, it can worsen the problem. 

Usually, the BBB is good at what it does. But conditions like epileptic seizures, sepsis, and severe hypertension forces the BBB to loosen its shield. And now we have evidence that EMF is also one of the things that weakens its integrity.

This research group performed two animal experiments in 1994 and 1997 to identify the effects of EMF exposure on the blood-brain barrier. These experiments used 246 rats and over 1,000 rats respectively. In both, they observed that there was a rise in albumin leakage through the BBB when they exposed the subjects to EMF.

Note that the subjects in both experiments were exposed to EMF at a non-thermal level. It is the same kind of EMF that our cell phones, laptops, WiFi routers, and smart meters produce — and that current radiation guidelines don’t account for.

EMF and Nerve Cell Damage

People voluntarily exposing their brain to EMF emissions from handheld devices like cell phones is “the largest human biological experiment ever,” says Leif Salford Ph.D., Lund University, Sweden.

Placing your phone next to your ear while on a call is super convenient, but not at all a safe practice. When you’re on a call, your phone constantly communicates with the network tower – emitting EMF at a peak volume. And don’t forget that your brain is right next to your skull. Although your skull is a natural shield against EMF, it can’t handle this level of emissions. A degree of it goes right through your skull and gets absorbed by your brain.

The same Swedish group confirmed this factor in another experiment when they exposed the subjects (rats) to EMF operating on GSM frequency (900 to 2000 MHz). Their experiment found evidence that the subjects suffered neuronal damage in the cortex, hippocampus, and basal ganglia in their brain because of that exposure.

It’s true that this experiment was performed on animals and not humans due of ethical reasons. But we share approximately 700 megabases of DNA with rodents. So, even though this was an animal experiment, we can assume that the effects will be similar on a human body, if not the same.

Neuronal damage leads to several medical problems, such as:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Migraines

Fortunately, these are the worst-case scenarios. Oftentimes, EMF-induced neuronal damage results in issues like muscle weakness, decreased alertness, unexplained pain, and poor cognitive abilities.

EMF Damages Myelin Sheath

Myelin is a fatty substance that surrounds your nerve cell axons, generally known as the “nervous system wires.” It protects your nervous channels from any damages that can cause them not to function properly. Damage to nerve cell axons often results in delayed information transfer from the brain to the targeted area, which makes normal tasks like moving, seeing, hearing, feeling, and thinking clearly hard for the individual.

The medical term for this condition is ‘demyelination.’

A 2014 study confirmed that there’s a link between heavy EMF exposure and demyelination. EMF and myelin damage is not a frequently-studied area, but the research we have so far tells us that EMF:

  1. Causes significant morphological damage in the myelin sheaths of rats
  2. Causes a greater risk of multiple sclerosis
  3. Causes effects in proteins related to myelin production
  4. Induces physical symptoms in individuals with functional impairment electrohypersensitivity

To date, there has been little to no progress on a cure for demyelination. But thankfully, our brain, being the keeper for our body, is good at healing damaged myeline.

Studies say that quality sleep also plays a vital role in faster myelin regeneration. This makes sense because the body does most of its healing while the individual is asleep. So, a good night’s rest is absolutely crucial.  

Now, many factors can prevent you from having a night of good REM sleep. Some of those factors are poor air quality, heavy EMF presence, and uncomfortable temperature. This is why building biologist and EMF expert Cathy Cooke teaches us how to create a sleep sanctuary to improve sleep quality significantly.

Besides this, proper nutrition and exercise are also some of the things that can help you recover from demyelination.

Effects of EMF on Neurophysiology

Our brain uses electrical impulses to communicate with the body. And when you expose such an organ to external energy similar to the one it uses, obviously, there’ll be changes. And this is not something you want.

Studies show that exposing your brain to heavy EMF emissions can result in problems like:

  • Disruption in regional cerebral blood flow
  • Neuropsychiatric complications
  • Changes in neurobehavioral functions
  • Stress and alterations in learning and memory
  • Amplified risk of glioma
  • Amplified resting electroencephalogram (EEG) patterns
  • Decrease in the amount of nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-positive neurons

The past few decades have brought us conclusive evidence that constantly exposing the brain to EMF creates many physiological changes in the organ. And, even though many of these physiological changes are not fatal, they can significantly reduce your quality of life.

EMF impacts brain health in numerous ways

Effects of EMF on Learning and Memory

Although it is almost impossible to calculate the brain’s exact memory capacity, scientists have come up with an average figure, which is around 2.5 petabytes (2560000 GB). We haven’t fully figured out how the brain actually works, but what we know for a fact is that it stores everything our five senses experience deep down in our unconscious mind.

The point being, what we refer to as quick learning and good memory are actually the ability to recall those experiences when you need to, even after a long time.

There are two kinds of memory — short-term memory and long-term memory.

Short-term memory is located in the hippocampus, and it’s also known as the ‘working memory.’ It gives you the ability to recall information for a few moments immediately after your experience.

This memory quickly vanishes, and your short-term memory will start working on your next experience. But the information from your experience is not exactly lost. Every day you experience thousands of things, and your brain only transfers important information to your long-term memory. Otherwise, the information gets stored deep in your unconscious mind.

The process of making a long-term memory from a short-term one is complicated. Your brain transfers the information from your hippocampus to the cortex. This transfer needs to be interference-free, otherwise, the information will get buried in the unconscious mind, never to be found again.

Research studies say that heavy EMF exposure can interfere with this process leading to what we call ‘poor learning and memory.’

However, EMF’s interference in this process is not direct. Constant EMF exposure leads to other health problems that interfere with short-term to long-term memory transfer. Health problems like:

EMF-Induced Headaches

“Thirty years ago, headaches as a consequence of exposure to low-intensity microwaves were reported in the literature,” says Allan H. Frey in his 1998 research paper.

Frey identified that constant EMF exposure affects two specific systems of the brain — the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and the dopamine-opiate system. Changes in these systems lead to various problems, and one of which is headaches.

I already mentioned in the above sections how EMF weakens the blood-brain barrier’s integrity, which allows unnecessary substances to enter your brain. Frey confirmed this in his animal study by injecting his subjects with sodium fluorescein and exposing them to EMF. As expected, the exposure weakened the BBB walls and allowed sodium fluorescein to enter their brain.

In the same paper, he also mentions that our “dopamine-opiate systems are influenced by electromagnetic fields, including those at cellular telephone frequencies, and these systems could be involved in the reported headaches.”

Note that Frey’s research was from 1998 when cell phones were rarely a thing. Our modern smartphones’ EMF emissions are significantly higher than what Frey experimented with. So, the risk of health problems that Frey mentioned is actually far greater now.

Following from this, there are many studies out there linking headaches with impaired learning and memory. One of the many examples is from an Italian researcher, Andrew Paul Smith. In 2016, Smith published a paper in which he mentioned that frequent headaches result in slower and less accurate logical reasoning, slower memory recall, and slower reaction times.

Changes in Sleep Habits

According to experts, most short-term to long-term memory transfer happens during your sleep, which means that a good night’s rest is crucial for your learning and memory abilities.

One of the common effects of heavy EMF exposure is sleep disorders like insomnia. This is why it’s important to keep your bedroom or at least your bed EMF-free. I have a separate post about how you can reduce EMF in your bedroom for improved sleep and health, so do give it a read.

Neurological Cognitive Disorders

Besides headaches and sleep disorders, epidemiological studies report that EMF causes other neurological, cognitive disorders, such as tremors, dizziness, depressive symptoms, loss of memory, and loss of concentration.

One such study from Latvia did an experiment with children living near an early warning military radio location station (RLS). It found that the pulsed EMF from the RLS caused those children to have underdeveloped memory and attention, slower reaction times, and decreased neuromuscular apparatus endurance.

Another study from Egypt examined 85 inhabitants living nearby mobile phone station antenna and found that those individuals were at risk of developing neuropsychiatric problems. On top of that, when they compared the 85 inhabitants to a control group, they saw a significant mismatch in their neurobehavioral functions.

How to Protect Your Brain from EMF

The brain is one of the most EMF-sensitive organs in the body, and interference to its normal workflow will lead to severe health problems.

As I mentioned before, our skull acts as a natural shield against EMF to protect the brain. But it certainly has a limit to the amount of EMF it can shield. When you place heavy EMF sources like cell phones and wireless headsets to your ear, their emissions go through your skull and reach your brain.

To prevent this, you’ll have to make certain changes in the way you use your tech. You’ll have to make sure that your brain is not in close contact with heavy EMF sources.  And besides that, you can use products designed specially to prevent EMF from reaching your brain. Here’s an explanation of what I mean.

Loud Speaker

All cell phones come equipped with a loudspeaker function which you can turn on when you’re on a call. This will let you keep your phone at a safe distance and still be able to talk on the phone without any issues.

EMF Brain Health Loudspeaker

But it’s also true that you can’t always use the speakerphone function, especially when you’re in public. So, your other option is to use a wired headset.

Wired Headsets

Wired headsets are much safer than their wireless counterparts. This is because, unlike wireless headsets, wired headsets are not an EMF source. These headsets connect to your phone and simply transfer sound from your device to their earbuds.

Wired headsets let you keep your phone away from your body, which automatically reduces your exposure — and by a lot. Additionally, since the headset itself doesn’t create EMF, there’ll be no EMF source in or on your ear.

However, as good as they sound, wired headsets don’t completely eliminate the exposure. They bring some EMF from your phone through the wired channel along with sound and release it into your ear.  So, even though this option is safer, it is a less than perfect solution.

So what is the perfect solution? It’s called an anti-radiation headset.

Anti-radiation headsets are designed to prevent EMF from entering your brain through your ears, and to reduce your overall EMF exposure — while allowing you to enjoy using headsets with your devices.

At SYB, we have two different anti-radiation headset solutions — the SYB Air Tube Headset and the SYB H.A.R.D.

The Sound of EMF Protection: SYB Air Tube Headset

The SYB Air Tube Headset is designed to make your phone calls safer by stopping 99% of the cell phone radiation that comes through the headset’s wired channel. It is available in two different styles, and both feature an inbuilt mic, volume control buttons, and audio playback control buttons.

Here are some other features of the SYB Air Tube Headsets:

  • They’re made from hollow tubing, meaning sound is transferred without the use of metal wires.
  • Because the sound transfer is EMF interference-free, the audio is crisp and clear.
  • They work on all devices that support a 3.5 mm audio jack.

Audiophile Friendly: The SYB H.A.R.D.

The SYB H.A.R.D. is not a headset itself — it’s a headset-to-device connector. With this product, you can use your own premium headset and still be able to prevent your cell phone’s EMF from reaching your brain.

The SYB H.A.R.D. contains special di-electric gel. This gel absorbs the EMF that comes from your phone and through the headset wires, allowing only the clean sound to pass. Now, since it separates EMF from the sound, you’ll not only have an EMF-free sound experience, but you’ll also notice a massive improvement in your headset’s audio quality.

Like the SYB Air Tube Headset, the H.A.R.D is compatible with any device supporting a 3.5mm audio jack. You just need to plug the headset into the SYB H.A.R.D. and then the SYB H.A.R.D. into your device — and you’re protected.

SYB H.A.R.D anti-radiation device for headsets
The SYB H.A.R.D sits between your headphones and your device.

The Very Fashionable SYB Bandana

The SYB Bandana is not a device — it’s one of our stylish pieces of apparel. At first glance, you’d think it was a regular bandana, and it feels like that too. However, it is a powerful EMF shield created using silver fibers that form an almost impenetrable EMF shield. It is also gentle on your skin, as we’ve used the highest quality silk available — Mulberry silk.

SYB Bandana’s versatile nature allows you to use it in many ways. You can use it as a headband, scarf, face mask, head wrap, mini turban, purse accessory, pocket square, or necktie. No matter how you use it, it will protect you everywhere you go.

Multi-purpose SYB Neck Gaiter

The SYB Neck Gaiter is an equally functional and stylish bandana alternative. It’s made from a combination of highly conductive silver fibers and a luxurious, lightweight, breathable, and high-performance fabric.

Like our bandana, there are dozens of ways you can wear the SYB Neck Gaiter. You can wear it as a headband, a beanie, a scarf, a face mask, or a balaclava – to name a few.

This product is designed in a way that shields you and not your device. This means it will not interfere with your wireless devices’ reception, performance, or battery life. Just put on the SYB Neck Gaiter, and you’re protected from EMF in your surroundings.

Final Thoughts

Technology developed at a rapid pace and didn’t give our bodies much time to evolve and build defenses against the kind of EMF radiation we’re facing today. This is why it’s upon you to take action to protect yourself and your loved ones from EMF’s adverse effects.

I have a huge collection of posts that talk about what actions you can take to mitigate your EMF exposure. The tips in the posts are easily applicable, and you can start using them today. So do give them a read.

Where do you carry your phone?

Want to Slash Your EMF Health Risks?

Good! Learn the one small change you should make right now.

Want to learn more about EMF?

Try these related articles...

About the Author

R Blank is the CEO of Shield Your Body, which he founded in 2012. With hundreds of thousands of customers in over 30 countries, and having been interviewed on platforms including Dr. Phil, ABC news television and ElectricSense, R is an internationally followed expert on issues of EMF, health and safety. He also hosts “The Healthier Tech Podcast”, available Apple, Spotify and all major podcasting platforms. In the past, he served on the faculty at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering as well as the University of California, Santa Cruz. Previously, R ran a software engineering firm in Los Angeles, producing enterprise-level solutions for blue chip clients including Medtronic, Apple, NBC, Toyota, Disney, Microsoft, the NFL, Ford, IKEA and Mattel. He has spoken at conferences around the world, including in the US, Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and he is the co-author, along with his father Dr. Martin Blank, of ‘Overpowered‘ from Seven Stories Press about the science of health effects of EMF radiation. He has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and received his bachelor’s degree, with honors, from Columbia University. He has also studied at Cambridge University in the UK; the University of Salamanca in Spain; and the Institute of Foreign Languages in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Read more about R and SYB or connect with R on LinkedIn.

Have a Question?

I take pride in designing great, effective products, based on real, measurable science – AND taking the time to ensure that each and every one of you has the information you need to understand EMF and make informed decisions.

So if you have a question, just email me and ask.

R Blank

R Blank