…and nor do they cause worse headaches in “sensitive” peopleBMJ 2006; 332 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7546.0-d (Published 13 April 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:0-d
All rapid responses
The sham exposure was not 'no signal', but 0.002 W/kg.
If 0.002 W/kg is above a threshold for headaches, Rubin c.s. found
evidence that the concrete indications that the electromagnetic fields
cause headaches are true.
The concrete indications are mentioned in a report for T-Mobile,
Jülich Institute, 9 May 2005, <http://www.emf-
Rubin c.s. did not mention their measurements of stress hormones and
autonomous nervous system activity. They did not measure noradrenaline.
Less cerebral blood flow, cerebral blood volume and/or arterial oxygen
saturation cause headaches too.
Rubin does not only explain headaches of the self-declared sensitive,
but also of the control group (though he does not mention this in his
article), by nocebo. Usually nocebo results are rather vague, while the
results of Rubin c.s. are clear and consistent (related article, Figure
2). Only the severities of headaches of self-declared sensitive and
control persons differ, which is understandable.
Nocebo requires an indication of differences between people who
develop a headache and people who do not (self-declared sensitive as well
as control). Rubin c.s. report no indication of different behaviour,
lifestyle, personality, attitudes.
Last but not least it does not make sense why people would attribute
a negative experience like a headache to a positive experience like being
able to phone anywhere.
Nocebo is a complicated explanation, causing questions. If 0,002 W/kg
is above the threshold, mobile phones cause headaches is a simple
explanation, giving an answer.
Next question is the working mechanism. Effects on stress hormones
(suggested by Hugo Schooneveld), effects on nerve cells (found by Peter
Semm in zebra finch), effects by lumping red blood cells ('rolls of
coins'), or another.
Competing interests: No competing interests