It's safe to say that most of us have come to accept, if not embrace, the abundance of wireless technology in our everyday lives. Not so for certain Americans who believe they suffer from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity, or EHS. According to the BBC, five percent of Americans think that exposure to electromagnetic fields created by Wi-Fi and mobile phones are causing them to suffer headaches, muscle spasms, burning skin and chronic pain. And some of these people are seeking refuge in the secluded mountains of Appalachia.
Towns like Green Bank, West Virginia are part of the U.S. Radio Quiet Zone, 13,000 square miles of wireless free land created to keep transmissions from interfering with radio telescopes like those owned by the military and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Some of those who believe (and we keep saying "believe" because there is some controversy about the medical validity of the claims) they feel ill effects from Wi-Fi have sought refuge in these hills.
A University of Maryland physics professor quoted in the BBC piece disagrees with the self-diagnoses, saying that Wi-Fi radiation is far too weak to cause changes in body chemistry and make people sick. The World Health Organization fact sheet on EHS says that "the symptoms are certainly real," but that "EHS is not a medical diagnosis, nor is it clear that it represents a single medical problem." As of 2010, Sweden was the only country that recognizes EHS as a functional impairment, even paying to have sufferers' homes electronically "sanitized" by installing metal shielding.
However, a study conducted by Louisiana State University claims to prove that the effects of radiation are real, relying on the results of an experiment in which a self-diagnoses sufferer was bombarded with both real and fake rays and asked about her symptoms. But neither this study nor any other similar studies have been accepted by either the medical or or scientific communities. You can read more about this illness, or non-illness, in our feature on the subject.
Still, the sufferers of whatever this is, or isn't, seem to find some relief in moving to the mountains of West Virginia.
this is not science... its psychologie...
bored? lets go mine the stars... ^^
Now I have a weapon against the weirdos that are afraid of technological change. I can just whip out my Samsung Galaxy Prevail and say "WHERE YOU AT?!" Send 'em 'headin' for the hills.' haha
What is science? For those of you out there in the scientific world that think people of this nature should be made fun of or poked fun at, SHAME ON YOU! Whatever happened to let people be and go about your daily lives? I am quite sure that there are people on popsci that were made fun of on a daily basis growing up and going to school, because of their brainpower, how they look, or any combination of things. If you truly have a scientific mindset, then you need to be tolerable to every single person that thinks differently than you.
What Is Science but A Continual Lesson of The Challenge To Studying The Entire Known Existence of Everything.
NERD! ha j.k
Seriously though this is all in peoples head I can make my self think I have almost any illness. I could go around and believe I have a pain in my arm for days and eventually its going to come true. The mind controls the body period. If this was ACTUALLY true it would be a epedimic not less than 5% of the population.
I will say, that although my anecdote is obviously unscientific, I too have experienced a difference in my well-being after spending time in the mountains of WV (not sure if it was in the radio-free zone... my cellphone def. didn't work).
It could have been a side effect of clean air or w/e, not necessarily the absence of electromagnetic radiation, but I slept better than I can ever remember, and woke up naturally and fully refreshed at 7am the next day after having gone to bed a mere 5 hours earlier.
Usually on a Saturday (and esp. after drinking till 2am, which I also did at my friends cabin on this trip), I wake up at 11am to 1pm and feel groggy and sleepy.
The whole day I also felt more alert and focused, and these changes continued to stay in effect through-out the whole trip.
When I got back to my small town (~100K ppl), the effects wore off and I was back to my usual self :\
"Do not offer sympathy to the mentally ill.
Tell them firmly:
I am not paid to listen to this drivel.
You are a terminal boob." - William S. Burroughs
There's already a medical condition associated with these people. It's called Hypochondria.
science is mostly about being simple, not philosophical...
now that i think you remind me my philosophy teacher ^^
What is...? ^^ LOL
bored? lets go mine the stars... ^^
Live and let Live and Learn along the way.
Wifi and cellphone signals are easily blocked (or at least attenuated), as many people know all too well if you have a metal roof, for example. I guess these people got tired of wearing their tin foil hats (literally), because tin foil will reflect wifi. However, most people should also know that wifi has very limited range. Just try to connect to a hotspot more than a few hundred feet away. The signal power is extremely low, and therefore there is no reasonable mechanism for such signals producing any significant effect.
OTOH, living in appalacia probably has many detrimental health effects, the most significant of which might be living 50 miles from the hospital on a dirt road when you suddenly have a heart attack. You better hope that the nearest hospital has a helicopter, because otherwise you're not going to make it. And, of course, that's only one of many real, fact-based health risks associated with living in a rural area.
I suffer from mild hypochondria from time to time and even i dont get worked up over stuff like this lol
We have a lot of brilliant commentators on POPSCI. Some are making comments above. Others have not commented yet. I am surprise what those commentators do not focus on.
In this same location, is a CIA satellite dish? Which purpose is to monitor all conversations in the USA coming in and out of USA?
To me, NOW that is a high and interesting topic of conversation and I love to hear the pro and cons and details of this, if anyone knows.
What is everyones opinion of having their conversations listen too and monitored?
god i miss BubbaGump. on the topic about EHS, its real. the government uses it to control the masses. its a "mindtrick" that keeps us all hypnotized. so basically the more you use your phone the more sensitive to BS you become.
The people of the world only divide into two kinds, One sort with brains who hold no religion, The other with religion and no brain.
- Abu-al-Ala al-Marri
Five percent? That's tens of millions of people. Are the symptoms simply very weak in most, so that they confuse them with routine aches, pains, and discomfort? I can't imagine 1 in every 20 people I see is functioning under the burden of "headaches, muscle spasms, burning skin and chronic pain."
It sounds fishy to me.
Research and find out how our atmosphere is massively saturated with radio fields, say compared to 200 years or ago or longer. In this regard, we humans have massively saturation our environment and are constantly looking further to add more data on the air waves.
Obviously this is a world earth problem. I wonder if other countries have document accounts of people having medical problems to this and what do they say? If it is really a true problem, other countries must be commenting on it too.
You've gotta be shitting me! How can anyone take this condition seriously?!
You mean to tell me that astronauts can go into LEO and be bombarded with the solar radiation not shielded by the Earth's magnetic field, and return to solid ground with a significant percentage of them not suffering serious ill effects of the space environment. Yet, 5% of the U.S. suffers from this hypocondriatic response to technophobia?!
That's a bunch of B.S. and everyone should be smart enough to know it. Why can't they just say they don't like technology? They'd get called podunk and hillbilly, but at least they're being real to themselves. This sounds like a psychosomatic response to legitimize distaste of modern society, and phobias of government surveillance conspiracy.
[Pause: Many of these people wearing tin foil hats are not interesting enough for any component of the U.S. government to be after them.]
These people need to get over themselves and kill that unshakeable thirst for attention, or just be honest and stop trying to make an excuse for whom they are.
It's like sexual orientation. Be real about yourself. There's always some group of people who won't like you for who you are, but absolutely no one likes someone who's fake, a liar, and always has to be the center of attention.
@pheonix1012 %50 percent of people that go into space can't handle it and suffer from constant headaches and nausea.
And remember these are the best of the best that were trained to withstand this, yet still they succumb.
I think we should listen to the millions of people that are complaining from these symptoms and not do as big pharma would do, diagnosis this as psychological and prescribe Prozac.
We need to listen to Sweden, they are the most progressive country in the world, there is a reason that country is the #1 place to live in the world...their government actually listens to its citizens, not brush them off as psychotics. This needs to be studied.
The people that suffer from headaches and nausea are suffering from the same physiological effects of high altitude flight that pilots experience.
The headaches are a result of the inaccurate simulation of atmospheric pressure in the life support systems. Trapped gases in the ears, nose, and many other orifices in the head lead to these headaches.
The nausea comes from long time exposure to a constant free fall. If you got in a plane and did constant parabolics, you might have some nausea or indigestion from the simulated zero-g.
(aerospace physiology 101: Human Factors of Flight)
A very small number of astronauts have witnessed ill effects from radiation in space. This is why there are limits to the amount of time astronauts are allowed to stay aboard the ISS for certain missions.
As for people who can't handle going into space, space dimentia is a psychological disorder synonymous to cabin fever. That vaguely relates to the physical effects on the body and more to the effects of isolation and monotony.
These people either want attention, or just don't want to admit that they my be podunk. What they witness around cellphones and computers is all in their heads.
An element to add to this and make a problem to isolate at being the cause of the problem is if we humans react badly to all this RF noise saturation slowly. Maybe it takes years for a person to be sick and the symptoms appear to just be different dysfunctions of the body and treat the symptom and never understand what the real cause it.
Everything being relative, it's unscientific to think cell phones, TV, computers have no effect on our physiology. I mean these gadgets are spitting out high frequencies that we have not experienced on our history. They DO have an effect. Just most of us can’t feel it. I know I have never felt ill from T.V or cell phone or computer…and I’m attached to my Laptop at the hip, I’ve been using cell phones for over 16 years, and watching TV my whole life. But everyone is different and a percentage of people might feel these effects. We can’t be a dismissive society like that. Sweden recognizes this “disease”, so right there it is real for some parts of the world..U.S is usually last in these things. (Aspartame, Fluoridated water, Anti-biotics in livestock etc.) All these things are harmful and have been banned by Europe but in U.S they are consumer products. Besides who’s to say all of these ELF waves aren’t contributing to our growing cancer rate….just something to think about. I love progress, doesn’t mean I want to live under hydro electric lines.
I'm not negating the fact these devices do not emit forms of radiation that has an effect on our physiology. I'm saying that the effects are not that acute. Medical doctors exam patients and do not find anything physically wrong with them. The only thing to test after that is brainwave activity; a little catscan for the insane man.
Large groups of people get together to form a political front for several causes all the time. Just because a large enough group of people in Sweden decided to make consecutive trips to the Doctor's Office to say "Oh doctor! Oh doctor! The electromagnetic waves of this cellphone is hurting me," and got their parliament to legitimize this condition in that country (ONLY), doesn't make this condition anymore scientfic fact than Special Relativity, or the Higgs Boson particle.
The WHO says that the "symptoms are real" <--- that's in THIS article... so who are you to say what the causes are?
Given the great biodiversity, is it so utterly impossible that some small portion of the population has a negative reaction to something new in the environment?
Are all of the people who have celiac disease just whiners who don't like grains? Or is it possible that some people are actually sensitive to foods everyone else can stomach because they have a different physiology?
"Do not offer sympathy to the mentally ill.
Tell them firmly:
I am not paid to listen to this drivel.
You are a terminal boob." - William S. Burroughs
If you say you have a pain, and a doctor exams you, and finds nothing physically wrong with you, then it's all in your head.
If there is nothing physically wrong with your brain or the function of neural transfer that suggest 'pain signals' being fallaciously sent to the brain, then it's your active imagination at work.
If your imagination is at work, you probably just want someones attention if you include others in your allusion.
I didn't say these signals and radiation doesn't have an effect on people (they're affecting you right now). I'm saying they don't effect people in the way some people think. Or you probably don't believe people will stretch theory and fact to suit their own endeavors for attention.
With the dawn of wireless digital devices, engineers theorized at these possible negative side effects of these devices in constant operation. Amazingly enough after these theories were reported, people all the sudden decided they were suffering from these physiological issues.
The effects of electromagnetic bombardment only reached the majority of the general public by the end of the 1990s, when there was the explosion of cellphone manufacture and use. Of course with the mass production of new technology comes the disdain of its transformational use in society by a minority of people who don't like certain types of change.
Medical Doctors, I say again, MEDICAL DOCTORS (Not the WHO) have issues with these peoples claims.
Aside from that, some scientists are not above reproach either. Many mediocre scientist will look to validify outlandish claims just so they can have their names posted in a journal or elevate their status to more esteemed colleagues. Why do you think Pluto isn't consider a planet anymore by some? Answer: nothing interesting enough was going on in the astrophysical world for a period of time to the point where academia decided "Let's argue about this."
No real physical or chemical consideration went into the process. They just ruled out it's planet status based on its position near the Kuiper Belt, and its size. If many astronomers weren't out searching for the planets that exist in this galaxy outside the solar system, they would have started looking for ways to reclassify jovian planets. But I digress from that.
My point was made clear in the first few lines, and if you want evidence of medical facts check a more credible source of medical research than the WHO. They tend to jump at anything that anyone claims is harmful to people. If an endangered species were killing people they'd call it an epidemic and go to war with Green Peace (okay that was a stretch, but as I said, my point is clear).
@pheonix, I agree with B.V on this one. You also lost me when you digressed onto the Pluto tangent.
Doctors have no means to measure pain. So if they can't diagnose a cause for the pain, that does not mean it is not real.
Several types of backpain and whiplash are classic examples of this, they cannot be varified by medical practioners, so by your hypothesis, they don't exist?
People experience ghost pains from amputated limbs. They are also just imagining it?
We learn amazing new facts about the human body every week. To assume there is no scenario whereby some portion of the population could be sensitive to certain signals is close-minded and assumptive.
Pain is in your brain and can only be interpreted by you. Even if it could be interpreted by someone else, everyone responds to a certain measure of pain in different ways.
If people are experiencing effects from wavelengths, something physical must also accompany pain as it does with harsher forms of radiation exposure.
Just because some says they feel pain doesn't mean it comes from anything else other than the will of their active mind, especially if their are no physiologial effects beyond that. Pain is the response to something physically wrong with the body, and if their is nothing physically wrong a person is faking or the trouble is in their brain.
BTW, phantom pains is a term used to explain the sensation amputees have when they feel like their amputated limbs are still their. The pain they experience is the pain of having a missing limb. There's nothing ghostlike about that.
I think we are in agreement in the fact that pain cannot be measured and regarding ghost or phantom pains.
You previously stated:
"If you say you have a pain, and a doctor exams you, and finds nothing physically wrong with you, then it's all in your head"
And the argument is perfectly valid, assuming medical science can identify and diagnose all things "wrong with you"
Which isn't the case.
No doctor will always be able to establish what is wrong. There are ailments and injuries which are known to be real but doctors cannot diagnose through physical means. i.e. Whiplash, most types of backpain, and other causes we have yet to discover.
To write those off as 'silly people' looking for attention will prevent us from ever finding the root cause.
A scientist at the University of Washington proposes a model to explain why some people might report EMF sensitivity. A small, isolated community near an Arizona indian reservation is home for several people who believe they are sensitive to EMF emissions.
For details, see on EMF sensitivity story at Yahoo Voices: