To my Medical Colleagues, GPs, Psychiatrists, Neurologists and others:
Electrosensitivity – an Environmental illness, an Authentic Diagnosis, not a Delusional Disorder
Electrosensitivity is the symptomatic sensitivity to Electric or Magnetic Fields of any frequency, including RadioFrequency (RF or Microwave) transmissions. As a symptomatic condition, it is becoming common due to the increasing environmental pressure on human biology. The source is pollution from wireless and other EM fields. Doctors as yet rarely recognize it due to educational issues. Safety always lags technological advance. There are barriers to recognition of harms. Current UK Advisory Safety Limits are based upon the outdated and disproven myth that Non-Thermal means Non-Harmful. Society and organizations have yet to fully travel the road from ‘there isn’t a problem’, ‘there might be a problem but it’s very small’ to ‘there is a problem’. Society does not recognize humans as electromagnetic beings, as well as physical bodies needing careful nutrition to maintain health. Meanwhile, increasing numbers of people suffer, often ignored or dismissed because society doesn’t yet appreciate the issue, and doctors have no answers. Electrosensitivity is soundly supported by both biology and physics.
You may be being consulted by a person who has this under-recognised condition.Thank you for reading this. It provides information that you may not easily find elsewhere. Electrosensitivity (ES) is a condition first described in 1932, and is when a person’s physiology is affected by external Electromagnetic (EM) fields, giving rise to a typical spectrum of symptoms, often neurological. It is therefore an illness caused by environmental agents – essentially an environmental toxic pollutant. Electrophobia is a fear of EM fields, and is a nocebo driven response. Symptoms of fear or paranoia about any agent, circumstances, person or issues can be part of a psychiatric condition, and may be part of a delusional state which will have other features. ES is completely separate from any delusional condition and from Electrophobia. ES is a condition that can arise due to continued exposure to an environment polluted by man-made EM and RF (radio-frequency) wireless signals at levels at orders of magnitude below heating effects, and is well understood in Russia. Symptoms include headaches, fatigue, disturbed sleep, tingling, pains in limbs, head or face, stabbing pains, brain-fog and impaired cognitive function, dizziness, tinnitus, nosebleeds, palpitations and others.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, (now known to be partially a failure of mitochondrial function) was initially difficult to diagnose and indeed dismissed by some as psychological illnesses. I have written this briefing sheet to summarise my understanding of ES in case you wish to consider it in your differential diagnosis.
My qualifications for this are as follows: I trained at Guy’s Hospital, and have been a GP since 1989, seeing a wide range of Primary Care Practice. I have a special interest in Health and Well Being, both physical, psychological and emotional, and have studied this whilst working with my patients. I seek to give the best of orthodox diagnoses and treatment, and also recognise other factors that contribute to and may maintain ill health, in order to eliminate them if possible. I have a wide-ranging interest in factors that affect health. I work for NHS Somerset CCG as a GP Patient Safety Lead, where I have done a number of Investigations into Root Causes, for the University of Bristol as an Examiner and Educator and former Somerset Academy GP Lead, and am approved under the Mental Health Act as a Section 12 Doctor. I teach Doctors on Health and Self-Care on behaIf of the BMA and in Somerset Hospitals and wider afield.
I am also a trustee of the charity ES-UK, which post has given me access to more information and research about the condition than many clinical colleagues, and in this I have consulted scores of people (at no charge) with electrosensitivity, severe enough to impact badly upon their lives.
My Experience: As a Section 12 Approved Doctor under the Mental Health Act, I have been involved in at least 400 Mental Health Act Assessments over ten years, and have good relationships with our excellent Somerset Psychiatrists. In all of the assessments I have done, though I have seen many patients with paranoia or delusional states including reference and being watched from the television and the like, I have never seen anyone with ES during an MHAA.
I have however, separately (i.e. not in Mental Health Act Assessment settings) seen patients whose symptoms are reliably caused by exposure to Electromagnetic fields, especially RF (Radiofrequency) transmitting technology, but also by EM Fields and by Dirty Electricity (for an explanation see below). It is only too easy, as I know from my medical career, to make a diagnosis only from the choices within the medical framework that we have learnt about, often years ago, especially when faced with a condition whose aetiology we cannot explain.
System Educational Problem: The aetiology of ES is discussed below but essentially the big problem that we all face as Clinicians, Scientists and Researchers is that the Medicine we have learnt is predominantly based on the discipline of Chemistry – not Physics. Yes, MRI Scanners and CT scans are Physics (i.e, information technology) based – however the vast majority of the narrative of pathology, physiology, anatomy, diagnostics and therapeutics is Chemistry based. Yet we are seeing in the field of IT that a Physics based understanding of technology has changed our world (yes, your phone, computer, internet use etc. has Chemistry based hardware, but the working of it is largely Physics based). And all clinicians are aware, from the history of medicine, that new insights into understanding are always occurring.
Actually, there is a growing awareness that the human body works on biophotons and information flows https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15947465 and electromagnetics as well as Chemistry, and that proteins in cell walls work as switching transistors. No wonder that exposure to certain frequencies of EM or RF fields at low power can have a biological effect – because this is how the cells work on microvoltage and microwattage powers (see Energy Medicine, James Oschman, 2nd ed. 2015, Elsevier). And of course the first noticed symptomatic effects will be on the nervous system, especially if already compromised due to (common) sub-clinical nutritional deficiencies of Omega 3 fatty acids, B Vitamins (think pellagra as a deficiency illness), intra-cellular magnesium, zinc, manganese and others.
Potential Diagnostic Traps: If we as doctors cannot explain something, it’s only too easy to diagnose the problem as either psychological or delusional, and in this we may fall into error, caused by our own unfamiliarity or the progress of understanding faster than our educational system transmits to us. If one has never yet diagnosed a case, it can need an astute diagnostician to differentiate between the unfamiliar yet real effects happening in a body at unseen levels resulting in distressing symptoms which give avoidance behaviour (because that person knows that they feel unwell near certain devices), and on the other hand a patient with a true delusional state as part of a mental disorder. However, once the clinician is aware of the existence of Electrosensitivity, the differentiation becomes easy, especially after seeing the pattern of several cases, as delusional states usually have several characteristic facets to them, and do not claim a plausible (though as yet unfamiliar) Physics based explanation.
An unfortunate myth/mantra perpetuated in science, by Private Industry Bodies such as ICNIRP, with its own vested interests, and repeated by Regulatory Bodies including PHE (HPA), (some of whose advisers are members of ICNIRP, which is surprising, and could be construed as a conflict of interest) is that nonthermal = non-harmful (now known to be FALSE) (i.e. if it doesn’t heat you over 6 minutes) – but this completely ignores all signal effects, which have known biological consequences. If ants can die from proximity to a wifi router, mobile phone or laptop on wifi (because they lose their ability to navigate, as caused by a signal, not a thermal effect) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23977878 ), rats’ retinas be harmed by certain frequencies of LED light https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25863264 whilst our ears can detect a billionth of a watt and our eyes a single photon, then is it surprising that measurable EM or RF fields can affect some people – and some people become hypersensitive and develop nervous system symptoms to extremely weak signals?
Safety issues always lag technological advance, whether from new medicines, car safety (think seat belts and tyre tread), asbestos etc, and early advice about possible problems is often ignored by not believing, by discrediting or worse by blaming the messenger. (It is human nature to be conservative).
From research, I have learnt about the importance of sleep, posture, breathing, emotional support, nutritional correctness, and freedom from electromagnetic transmission fields amongst other areas. I have seen a number of people who feel unwell in the vicinity of wireless transmitters, mobile phone masts, cordless phones, from using a mobile phone, and from active alarm sensors, amongst other things, in my practice as a GP and elsewhere. I can confirm this from experience of headaches, brain fog and word finding difficulties with prolonged exposure to RF including wifi, mobile or cordless phones.
A typical history of a more severe case is that after an electromagnetic insult (such as a new powerful RF (wireless) device being introduced into the person’s environment, or an electric shock), symptoms may progressively appear, in response to exposure to electromagnetic fields of various different types. These fields include using appliances such as hair-driers, vacuums or cookers, which produce high levels of electric and magnetic fields, or cordless phones, wifi routers, mobile phones and a whole range of wireless transmitting technology which produces RF (radiofrequency, or microwave) transmissions, or computers, monitors and other devices, and fluorescent lights (as opposed to the older incandescent type of bulbs). A careful history is paramount in detecting this condition, especially if aggravating and alleviating factors are described and detected, possibly helped by using field detectors (measuring devices for EM fields and wireless radiation).
Symptoms include headaches, fatigue, disturbed sleep, tingling, pains in limbs, head or face, stabbing pains, brain-fog and impaired cognitive function, dizziness, tinnitus, nosebleeds, palpitations and others. It is clear that the primary area of disturbance is in the nervous system. It is not known why some people react to these and others do not, however it may be that heterogeneity of genetic make-up, nutritional status, and other factors predispose people to develop the condition once sensitised. Certainly general factors like lack of sleep can exacerbate the issue.
Mechanisms include voltage-gated calcium channel disruption, upregulation of the sympathetic nervous system, interference in the blood brain barrier and alteration of melatonin production, production of heat shock proteins, failure of DNA recombination due to the radical spin pair mechanism, and interference with intercellular microsignalling and circadian rhythms. It is likely that biophoton communication patterns are disrupted. What is certain is that it is not a nocebo effect, as animals are affected, such as ants, fruit flies and others. As we understand more about biological systems using electromagnetic signals to communicate, a whole host of biological effects will become apparent. We already know that semen quality is affected by RF https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24927498 . Prevalence: some people suffer from Electrosensitivity to a severe and incapacitating degree, which affects less than 1% of the population, whilst moderate may affect up to 3-5%, and mild 20-30%. Please see: The Austrian Medical Association EMF Guidelines, and also Chapter 47 “Electrosensitivity: Sources, Symptoms and Solutions” by Tresidder and Bevington, in Textbook of Bioelectromagnetic and Subtle Energy Medicine, 2nd ed., Paul Rosch, 2015.
Electrosensitivity is an under-recognised illness in the Western world. However, since the 1930s it has been recognised by Russia and the former Eastern Bloc countries, and also by the US in Naval Medical research http://www.magdahavas.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Barrie_Trower_SA.pdf It did not exist before mains current was used. Now that many people are being exposed to radio frequency transmissions, both in and outside the home and workplace, the number of people who fall ill because of this will rise. Current sufferers, if able to obtain a correct diagnosis, are likely to be seen in retrospect as the canaries, the early messengers of problems. ES appears to be a disability caused by environmental pollution, and may be a useful warning sign for society of a problem. For an interesting view on this, with research based upon many years of government activity from the 1950s on, see http://www.radiationresearch.org/10-uncategorised/336-wifi-a-thalidomide-in-the-making-who-cares . The whole area may be an inconvenient truth, managed by Active Denial, and sometimes it is easier to discredit the messenger than to honestly investigate forwards. It is not yet taught about at medical school or to PostGrads and therefore is unlikely to be diagnosed by most GPs or Hospital Specialists at present. In two or three years’ time, the picture is likely to be different regarding medical knowledge and expertise. This is a new area of disability that is explicitly recognised in Canada, Sweden and the USA, and is becoming more and more important.
Treatment is currently problematical. It is essential to minimise exposure to adverse EM fields, as well as pay attention to nutrition, sleep and other factors to ensure high levels of health. Despite this, many people steadily worsen, and become casualties of the environmental RF and EM pollution, causing a steady decline in their health, often losing their jobs, ability to enter public places, and sometimes even unable to remain in their houses. Current UK NHS medical knowledge and approaches offer little hope of any treatment or improvement, although a number of GPs and others do recognise the condition. Future hope may be found by taking a salutogenic (health oriented) approach.
Current and historical UK PHE (HPA) advice is based on the outdated incorrect theory that only thermal effects may cause harm, and takes no recognition of signal effects, and therefore is unhelpful. The PHE advice is based upon the flawed Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR) 2012 Report, which has ‘an incorrect and misleading executive summary and overall conclusions, inaccurate statements, omissions and conflict of interest’ (see Appendix). Unfortunately, senior people in UK Scientific and Advisory bodies still trust this outdated theory, partly due to the System Educational Problems. A few authorities still consider that the condition is a psychologically mediated nocebo effect (‘we don’t know what’s going on, so blame the patient’) – such authorities come from the same school of thought that decided that CFS/ME was psychologically mediated, without understanding the biological basis of compromised mitochondrial function. This historical view can be replaced now we understand how mitochondrial function is implicated. http://www.ijcem.com/files/IJCEM812001.pdf . A thorough review of up-to-date papers appears in Bevington’s summary 'Select Studies on ES and EHS' available on the Research tag in the ES-UK website: http://www.esuk.info/attachments/article/85/Selected%20ES%20and%20EHS%20studies%20-%20Oct.2016.pdf
Society is aware that most mobile and smart phones now include advice to keep them away from the body (though ‘pocket hotspots’ are being popularized); it seems as though the industry may be shifting position towards acknowledging not just heating effects, but also other significant non-thermal effects. Some areas of the Insurance Industry have serious concerns about the health effects, and exclude cover for EM and RF from their policies. In the USA, unusual multifocal breast cancers in young women in their 20s have been reported immediately adjacent to where their mobile phone has been kept in the bra. Since symptoms from EM exposure can be delayed and cumulative, a patient's history of symptoms and exposures may be difficult to follow for someone not experienced in the types of technology now known to have biological effects.
Thank you for considering this diagnosis in your differential of possibilities. I hope this is of assistance to you.
Somerset TA19 0SB
Somerset TA19 0SB
[See original document.]
ES letter psych paper Jan 2017.pdf · version 1
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