General news

Announcements and non-science news

Published on: Sep 07, 2010

Sonya's work arose from a collaboration with an industrial partner (Solianis Monitoring AG) dedicated to non-invasive glucose monitoring. One of the tracks in order to improve the performance of the glucose sensor effectively measuring skin impedance consisted of modelling the sensor-skin system. However, this task turned out to be challenging.

Sonja HuclovaIn the operating frequency range of the sensor, from approx. 1 to 100 MHz the behaviour not only of skin, but biological tissue in general is mainly dictated by the shorting of the thin, almost insulating cell membrane. In the following, the basic idea was to consider tissue as quasi-periodic and calculate its dielectric properties on the scale of a unit cell. In the simplest case the unit cell consists of a single biological cell embedded in extracellular medium. On the microscopic scale the cell is exposed to a homogeneous electric field in all three spatial directions. Since an inhomogeneous field applied on the macroscopic scale is still approximately homogeneous on the microscopic cellular scale, the dielectric parameters (a tensor in general) of the unit cell are said to represent the properties of the tissue as a bulk material. Consequently, the properties of different tissue types, such as in the example of the skin can be accounted for in a macroscopic model.

The results of the work presented at the BEMS 2010 in Seoul focused on the actual ability to numerically model dielectric properties of cell suspensions taking cell shape and high volume fractions occurring especially in tissue into account. The second task was to investigate to which extent the effective dielectric properties can be approximated by analytical expressions such as the Maxwell-Garnett formula or even just the dielectric parameters of the extracellular medium. It was shown that especially in the low MHz region approximations should be applied with care. Besides of the use for the presented application the availability of reliable models would help to close the gap for dosimetry data in the MHz range since compared to ELF or HF this part of the EM spectrum has only been paid limited attention so far.

Among the improvement and validation of the tissue model for skin impedance measurements and extension by including electro-thermal interaction the goals of the underlying work are even more general. The question is to which extent microscopic physiological changes can be measured on a macroscopic scale. As the ‘Group for Electromagnetics in Medicine and Biology’ is involved into applications covering a wide frequency range from LF to optical, therefore our overall aim is to develop appropriate models for the interactions with EM fields and biological tissue at any scale and frequency.

Published on: Sep 07, 2010

Mary RedmayneMary Redmayne is studying for a PhD in New Zealand. At this year’s BEMS meeting, she presented some results from a cross-sectional survey of adolescent wireless phone use undertaken with year 7/8 students in the Wellington Region. The survey collected a broad range of data on user-habits of the 373 participants, and self-reports on sleep-related factors. The accuracy of their texting estimation was also presented. A census of schools catering to this age-group in the region was also taken to establish what rules the schools had regarding cellphones and their use. Examination of both datasets has allowed an analysis of the effectiveness of rules and offers a clear picture of the extent of phone use by this age-group throughout the week, including at school and at night.

The second stage of Mary’s PhD will be an examination of issues under discussion internationally regarding bio-effects of RF exposures typically encountered, and what evidence there is, if any, to indicate that these may impact adversely on health. Is the call for precaution from some quarters warranted scientifically, or just emotionally? How should these affect policy-setting? As well as a literature review, the issues to be examined will include the following along with the scientific-reasoning, drivers and substance underlying each:
-    international Standard-setting and the push for harmonisation;
-    the extent to which RF Standards cater for current technological capabilities;
-    the range of advice being given regarding young people’s exposure to RF and their use of wireless phones;
-    proposed ‘non-thermal’ mechanisms and evidence for micro-thermal effects.

Results will be analysed with regard to policy-setting. Is there a sufficient level of risk for it to guide policy on children’s use of and exposure to RF technology? How is the risk/ benefit balance to be weighed?

Mary's research advisors reflect the unique nature of her study. They are experts with a range of relevant skills, making them well-placed to support her broad topic. Professor Euan Smith is a geophysicist in the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington, where Mary is based. His research involves the physics of earthquakes and analysis of hazard and risk – Wellington lies on a major fault in the Pacific ‘ring of fire’. Professor Michael Abramson is Deputy Head of the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. He recently led the MoRPhEUS study examining cognitive effects of adolescent wireless phone use. Mary worked in Melbourne analysing some data from this study for a few weeks in early 2009, and has subsequently co-published a paper in the Journal of Environmental Monitoring as lead author. Dr Sean Weaver is a specialist in environmental management and a Senior Associate with the Institute of Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. His graduate research was in biology/botany.


Each year, we honor those students whose work won an award at the annual meeting by publishing a short description of their work and the context in which it has evolved. 

This year, Andrew Wood, chair of the Awards Committee announced the following awards in Seoul, Korea:

First Place Platform (Oral) Presentation Award – Joseph James Morrissey Memorial Award


  • Michael Corbacio of Lawson Health Research Institute and the University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario, Canada)

(with coauthors S. Brown, S. Dubois, J. Weller, A. Aeuter, D. Goulet, J. Lambrozo, M. Plante, M. Souques, Frank Prato, Alex Thomas, and A. G. Legros)

for his work entitled  

“Effects of a 60Hz, 3000 MicroTesla Magnetic Field on Human Cognitive Processing”


First Place Poster Award – Curtis Carl Johnson Memorial Award

  • Steven M. Kennedy of the University of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, USA)

(with coauthors Zhen Ji, Nicole B. Rockweiler, Adam R. Hahn, John H. Sooske, and Susan C. Hagness)

for his work entitled

“A Locally Constrained Surface Tension Model Based on Cortical Anchoring Predicts Stable Electropore Development”


2nd Place Platform (Oral) Presentation Award

  • Henning Hintzsche of the University of Wuerzburg (Germany)

(with coauthor Helga Stopper)

for his work entitled

“Mobile Phone Radiation Does Not Induce Micronuclei in Buccal Mucosa Cells”


2nd Place Poster Award

  • Mary Redmayne of the Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand)

for her work entitled

“Adolescent Cell Phone and Cordless Phone Exposure and User-Habits”


3rd Place Platform (Oral) Presentation Award

  • Christian Beyer of ETH (Zürich, Switzerland)

(with coauthors Ilian Jelesarov, Philipp Christen, and Jürg Fröhlich)

for his work entitled

“Thermosensor Protein GrpE of Heat Shock Protein Hsp70 System as Target for High-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields”


3rd Place Poster Award

  • Christian Beyer of ETH (Zürich, Switzerland)

(with coauthor Jürg Fröhlich)

for his work entitled

“Novel in vitro PEMF exposure system for a large number of cell dishes”

4th Place Platform (Oral) Presentation Award

  • Sonja Huclova of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Zürich, Switzerland)

(with coauthor Jürg Fröhlich)

for her work entitled

“Simulation of bulk dielectric parameters of cell suspensions”

4th Place Poster Award

  • Yu-Hsuan Wu of the University of Southern California (Los Angeles, USA)

(with coauthors Martin Gundersen and P. Thomas Vernier)

for her work entitled

“Monitoring real-time intracellular responses to nanoelectropulses”



A recent paper by Focke et al. published in Mutation Research 2010, Vol 683(1-2), pp 74-83, should be of substantial interest to the Bioelectromagnetics community. 

The paper, entitled "DNA fragmentation in human fibroblasts under extremely low frequency electromagnetic field exposure," directly and thoroughly addresses issues about reproducibility and plausibility on this subject that have been debated for many years.  The authors' approach was to perform replication of the Ivanscits et al. publications in Mutation Research 2002, Vol 519, pp 1-13 and Intl Arch Occup Environ Health 2003, Vol 76, pp 431-436.  The authors' goals were to explore issues associated with this phenomenon in depth to determine if claims have validity and under what conditions they can be repeatably reproduced, and ultimately to discover processes and conditions that could guide mechanistic explorations. 

The authors raised the following fundamental questions and obtained answers:

1) Is it the electric or the magnetic field that causes the effect? 

The result showed that it is the magnetic field; similar magnetic field dependencies were shown by Blackman et al., FASEBJ 7:801, 1993 and BEMS 14:273, 1993. 

2) Is cell proliferation needed for the effect to occur? 

The result shows that proliferating cells are needed. 

3) Is apoptosis involved in the DNA fragmentation? 

The results showed a slight component (about 1-2 % of the DNA damage) is due to apoptosis. 

4) Is oxidative damage of DNA bases the fundamental cause? 

The results show that oxidative damage does not seem to be a causal component in DNA fragmentation.  Other, secondary questions of interested to the BEMS readers, such as cell type and physiological state, were asked and answered.

Conclusions from this study include:

1.    Results clearly define the conditions under which reproducible ELF-EMF-induced DNA fragmentation can be detected.
2.    Results do not appear to be artifacts of the technique or procedures, as has been previously alleged. 
3.    Results provide an explicit platform from which biological studies can be launched to more fully define:
    a. exposure conditions, including parameters such as (1) intensity, (2) pulse repetition rate, (3) frequency and  (4) static magnetic field intensity and orientation to alternating field, and
    b. biological processes, including dependence on (1) cell type, (2) physiological status with respect to differentiation or perturbation from the homeostatic condition, and (3) co-insult with chemical, nutritional and biological agents. 
4.    Future studies with this methodology may be able to contribute to (1) improve fundamental understanding of biological processes, (2) identify exposure conditions that may be useful in medical applications, and (3) identify conditions to avoid in general population exposure scenarios. 

Ken Joyner with Morrissey family

In the May - June 2010 BEMS newsletter, Ken Joyner was incorrectly referred to as a Motorola representative and Motorola was incorrectly described as the sponsor of the Joseph James Morrissey Memorial Award. 

In fact, the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF), an international association of telecommunications equipment manufacturers with an interest in mobile or wireless communication, is the sponsor of that award. Ken, who serves as MMF Chairman, is shown here with Joe Morrissey's widow and son in Seoul, Korea as they prepare to make the first of five annual student awards sponsored by MMF in memory of Dr. Morrissey.   Since February 2009, Ken is no longer with Motorola.  He is now Executive Technical Advisor, Standards and Technology Enabling, DMC R&D Center, Samsung Electronics CO., LTD.

We regret the error.


(trying again - may duplicate previous effort, but couldn't find that)

(these are smaller sized versions of photos in NL 214)

Left to right: Steve Kennedy, etc.

As is traditional, we hope to devote the July-August issue of the Newsletter to reports that give some of the background details of the work for which student received awards at the annual meeting.  Shown here (left to right) are award winners Sonja Huclova, Christian Beyer, Mary Redmayne, Henning Hintzsche, Michael Corbacio, BEMS President Jeff Carson, Yu-Hsuan Wu, Motorola representative Ken Joyner, Stephen Kennedy, and Awards Committee chair Andrew Wood.

Morrissey Award

This year's awards included the new Joseph James Morrissey Memorial award for excellence in a platform presentation.  Winner of the first award, Michael Corbacio, is shown here (second from the right) with (left to right) BEMS President Jeff Carson, Mobile Manufacturers Forum (award sponsor) representative Ken Joyner, Kay Morrissey and son, who traveled to Seoul to present the award on behalf of the late Dr. Morrissey, and Award Committee chair Andrew Wood (to the right of Mr. Corbacio).

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of two men associated with our field of research.  We'd like to make these stories of their lives more connected with their actual impact on our field, so if you have further information about the role they have played in the Society's work, please send it for publication in the next issue of the newsletter.  We are especially grateful to Bernard Veyret for sending the information about Andre Bellossi.