WiFi may interact with signaling pathways in the brain, causing irreversible damage

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The effects of repeated WiFi exposure on human health have been widely debated. A recent study reviewed evidence from 23 controlled scientific studies which investigated the health effects of WiFi on animals, human cell lines, and humans to determine once and for all, whether WiFi has a detrimental effect on human health.

Many people use WiFi connected devices everydayChiccoDodiFC | Shutterstock

WiFi or a wireless network consists of an antenna that is connected to the internet and several wireless devices, such as laptop, phone, etc. The electromagnetic frequency of WiFi is pulsed rather than continuous. This is a critical issue, as pulsed electromagnetic frequencies have a larger biological impact.

A 2015 study argued that more pulsed an electromagnetic frequency, more harmful they are for biological specimens. Researchers have also tried to determine the dose relationship between WiFi exposure and biological effects, and found that a specific intensity range of electromagnetic pulses may produce maximum effects, and this may drop off at lower and higher intensities.

When the impact of pulsed electromagnetic frequency was observed in the brains of mice, it was found that exposure for 1–2 months was relatively modest and that the changes were reversible after removing the trigger. However, months of exposure led to severe irreversible effects on neurons and the brain. These results suggest that the changes induced by pulsed electromagnetic frequencies accumulate over time, with harmful long-term effects.

Should we stop children and pregnant women from using WiFi connected devices?

The pulsed electromagnetic frequencies may be particularly damaging in young children due to the small size of their skulls and reduced skull thickness. This may increase brain exposure to pulsed electromagnetic frequencies.

Pulsed electromagnetic frequencies have also been shown to be particularly potent in embryonic stem cells. As these cells occur at a higher frequency in fetus and children, it further puts them at risk, leading to effects on brain development. This effect is particularly striking considering that WiFi placements are a common fixture around schools these days.

WiFi may interact with signaling channels in the human brain

One of the first studies to elucidate how the pulsed electromagnetic frequencies could affect human health showed that low-intensity pulsed electromagnetic frequencies could be blocked using drugs that block voltage-gated calcium channels. Subsequent studies showed activation of calcium channels in response to pulsed electromagnetic frequencies in plants, animals, and human cells.

Apart from calcium channels, voltage-gated sodium, potassium, and chloride channels were also shown to be activated by pulsed electromagnetic frequencies. In humans, seven different voltage-gated ion channels are known to be activated by exposure to pulsed electromagnetic frequency.

This change was observed within five seconds in cells in culture, suggesting that this is a direct effect of pulsed electromagnetic frequency on the plasma membrane.

The different biological effects of pulsed electromagnetic frequency exposure include oxidative stress, lower female/male fertility, neurological effects, cell death, and damage, changes in steroid hormone levels, calcium overload.

Previous studies that have investigated this effect used computers with WiFi cards. Although WiFi cards have been designed to communicate with WiFi antennae, currently there is no information as to how these pulsed electromagnetic frequencies compare with the radiations of genuine WiFi.

Furthermore, many studies have claim there are no effects of pulsed electromagnetic frequencies as the observed effects were not scientifically significant. However, concluding that there is an absence of effects due to lack of statistical significance may not mean that there is no effect whatsoever.

The ubiquitous presence of WiFi in spaces occupied by humans, particularly in schools should be dealt with caution until the effects of pulsed electromagnetic frequencies on humans are established.


Martin L. Pall. 2018. Wi-Fi is an important threat to human health. Environmental Research. 164 pp.405-416. doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2018.01.035

Dr. Surat P

Written by

Dr. Surat P

Dr. Surat graduated with a Ph.D. in Cell Biology and Mechanobiology from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (Mumbai, India) in 2016. Prior to her Ph.D., Surat studied for a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Zoology, during which she was the recipient of an Indian Academy of Sciences Summer Fellowship to study the proteins involved in AIDs. She produces feature articles on a wide range of topics, such as medical ethics, data manipulation, pseudoscience and superstition, education, and human evolution. She is passionate about science communication and writes articles covering all areas of the life sciences.  


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  1. John Joyce John Joyce United States says:

    I just stumbled across this article and as one working in the laboratory informatics field, I was rather concerned regarding the possible issues described in this article.  So much so that I located a copy of the original article, 'Wi-Fi is an important threat to human health' by Martin L Pall (DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.01.035).  His article seemed to be consistent with what you described.

    However, on digging deeper, in a later issue of the same publication, Environmental Research, I stumbled upon a Comment regarding this article from Alberto Najera, titled 'Comments on “Wi-Fi is an important threat to human health”' (DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.07.026).  In his two page comment, Dr. Najera covered a number of issues regarding the methodology and naming of this paper.  Instead of attempting to recap it, I'd suggest that people go out and read it, as it is an Open Access document.

    I am not a researcher in this field, so I would hesitate to make an immediate assessment of Dr. Pall's work.  However, given the issues that Dr. Najera raises, I have concerns regarding the implication of your article.  Obviously, if there is an interaction, that is something that everyone would want to know.  Given Dr. Pall's protocol and the fact that a major fraction of the references he provided are to either his own work or work not involving humans, the article headline seems rather incitefull.  Particularly as, assuming the publications dates are correct, Dr. Pall's article was published in July of 2018, Dr. Najera's comment was published in January of 2019, while your article was not published until 18 April 2019.  It seems reasonable to me that, at the very least, reference to the comment from Dr. Najera should have been included in your article.

    My concern here is that given the protocol, I would hate to see a rabid movement against Wi-Fi similar to the anti-vaxers, whose whole movement was triggered by medical 'research' that was eventually proven to be fraudulent, resulting in the loss of that author's medical license (though not stopping the movement), and putting entire generations at risk, as illustrated by the number of measles outbreaks.

    I think it is quite reasonable for someone to want to evaluate Dr. Pall's work with a new set of experiments, as well as testing for possible hazards from the future 5G cellular networks, which use an even higher frequency.  I would consider that just being prudent and, I guess you would refer to it as, just doing your Due Diligence.  But given the amount of time that Wi-Fi and other devices working in the same frequency range have been around, it doesn't seem like an urgent need for us to start wearing aluminum foil hats.  (Though yes, I know that there are plenty of people that feel that we already should.)

    Thank you for your time and consideration,

    Dr. John Joyce

  2. Alan Schmukler Alan Schmukler United States says:

    An excellent article that introduces the concept of harm from microwave radiation. The wireless industry has been working very hard to hide the danger, but the jury is now in. Hundreds of studies show damage from exposure to these frequencies. the latest were the NTP study and the Ramazzini institute study which found that cell phone radiation caused specific kinds of cancer. That is the same frequency (900 Mghz) emitted by smart meters which the government is permitting to be placed on every home in the country.  The meters  expose the resident to 160 times the radiation of a cell phone by virtue of delivering whole body radiation 24 hours a day.  Now the wireless industry is installing 5G transmitters on every block which will expose everyone frequencies exceeding 80 GHZ.  The FCC is in league with the wireless industry, so there's no one watching out for the health and safety of the population. In addition, Wifi in schools is slowly destroying the health of all those innocent children.  Check out this article in the Nation to grasp the level of corruption involved in all of this:   www.thenation.com/.../

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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