A team led by researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas may have come up with the first actual evidence that cell phone towers and other electromagnetic energy sources can induce pain. The study was intended to look into anecdotal evidence from amputees that have reported nerve pain within their remaining appendages when passing under power lines and next to cell phone antennas. The researchers, considering that this effect seems to mostly happen in amputees, decided to investigate whether neuromas, the inflamed nerve bundles that form after injuries, may essentially serve as antennas that capture the radio signals and somehow interact with them.
The team used rat models, about half of which received nerve injuries similar to that which happen during amputations. The others received sham treatment. For the next eight weeks, once a week, the rats were exposed to radiofrequency signals from a nearby antenna. Remarkably, by the fourth week, most of the rats that had true nerve injuries responded to the radio signals. Only one rat in the control group did.
The findings will certainly stir the controversy of whether all the antennas around us are causing us harm. It may also lead to new technologies that interact with the human body in ways previously unexpected.