Tuesday October 22, 2019

‘Amputees living near cellphone towers may suffer from increased pain’

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New York: A new research suggests that amputees living near cellphone towers that produce radio-frequency electromagnetic fields may suffer from increased pain.

“Our study provides evidence, for the first time, that subjects exposed to cellphone towers at low, regular levels can actually perceive pain,” said senior study author Mario Romero-Ortega, associate professor of Bioengineering at University of Texas at Dallas, US.

Until this study, published online in the journal PLOS ONE, there was no scientific evidence to back up the anecdotal stories of people, who reported aberrant sensations and neuropathic pain around cellphone towers, the researchers said.

“Our study also points to a specific nerve pathway that may contribute to our main finding,” Romero-Ortega noted.

Most of the research into the possible effects of cellphone towers on humans has been conducted on individuals with no diagnosed, pre-existing conditions.

This is one of the first studies to look at the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in a nerve-injury model, Romero-Ortega said.

The team hypothesized that the formation of neuromas — inflamed peripheral nerve bundles that often form due to injury — created an environment that may be sensitive to EMF-tissue interactions.

To test this, the team randomly assigned 20 rats into two groups — one receiving a nerve injury that simulated amputation, and the other group receiving a sham treatment.

Researchers then exposed the rats to a radio frequency electromagnetic antenna for 10 minutes, once per week for eight weeks.

The antenna delivered a power density equal to that measured at 39 meters from a local cellphone tower.

Researchers found that by the fourth week, 88 percent of rats in the nerve-injured group demonstrated a behavioral pain response, while only one rat in the other group exhibited pain at a single time point, and that was during the first week.

“Our model found that electromagnetic fields evoked pain that is perceived before neuroma formation; subjects felt pain almost immediately,” Romero-Ortega said.

The researchers believe that the protein TRPV4, which is known to be a factor in heat sensitivity, could be a mediator in the pain response for these rats. (IANS)(Photo: www.networkedindia.com)

Next Story

Fatty Tissues Accumulate Inside Lungs of Obese People: Study

The researchers examined post-mortem samples of the lungs that had been donated for the research and stored in the Airway Tissue Biobank

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Excess fat accumulates in the airway walls of Obese people where it takes up space and seems to increase inflammation within the lungs. Pixabay

Researchers have found that fatty tissues accumulate in the airway walls, particularly in people who are overweight or obese.

The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, suggested that the fatty tissue alters the structure of people’s airways and this could be one reason behind the increased risk of asthma.

“Our research team studies the structure of the airways within our lungs and how these are altered in people with respiratory disease,” said the study’s author John Elliot from Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Australia.

“Looking at the samples of lungs, we spotted fatty tissue that had built up in the airway walls. We wanted to see if this accumulation was correlated with body weight,” Elliot said.

The researchers examined post-mortem samples of the lungs that had been donated for the research and stored in the Airway Tissue Biobank.

They studied samples from 52 people, including 15 who had no asthma, 21 who had the disease but died of other causes and 16 who died of asthma.

Using dyes to help visualise the structures of 1373 airways under a microscope, they identified and quantified any fatty tissue present.

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Fatty tissue alters the structure of Obese people’s airways and this could be one reason behind the increased risk of asthma. Pixabay

They compared this data with each person’s body mass index (BMI).

The study showed that fatty tissue accumulates in the walls of the airways. The analysis revealed that the amount of fat present increases in line with increasing BMI.

“We’ve found that excess fat accumulates in the airway walls where it takes up space and seems to increase inflammation within the lungs,” said the study’s co-author Peter Noble.

ALSO READ: Playing Sports Linked with Lower Mental Health Issues: Study

“We think this is causing a thickening of the airways that limits the flow of air in and out of the lungs, and that could at least partly explain an increase in asthma symptoms,” Noble said. (IANS)