Sunday, August 31, 2008

Shock to the System, a new breed of injury? / Record numbers of ex-soldiers in UK jails as combat trauma blamed

Hi All
Here is a very interesting story about brain damage being caused to modern troops in combat. The links to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) being a possible cause to the problem have been highlighted and enlarged. Another thing to consider whilst reading this story is the amount of wireless equipment being used in battlefield conditions, including various communications and radio systems, radar and electromagnetic weapons. Troops are being exposed to higher levels of electro magnetic radiation than ever before. If EMR is part of the cause of this brain damage, it should be fairly simple to add EMR protection to the kevlar helmets.
Victims of this brain damage should be warned to avoid EMR in their home environment, cell phones, cordless phones WiFi and wireless devices could all be making the symptoms far worse. Several of the symptoms are similar to those of microwave sickness, so avoidance of microwave radiation could be very important.
Thanks to Linda Sepp for sending me this item.
The second story is about how former British troops are suffering after their war service is over, this also has a similar theme.
Martin Weatherall
Brain injuries, whether blunt force, chemical, or electric in nature, can all have similar results... Linda

..."His own theory pinpoints electromagnetic pulses as one possible culprit. Blasts emit intense magnetic fields that may damage brain cells, he contends."...

STRETCHED TO THE LIMIT: Shock waves can damage healthy brain cells. [left] Sometimes just lightly twisting the cell is enough to do the job. THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL: The shearing not only causes physical damage to cells but can also unleash a biochemical cascade that eventually causes cells to self-destruct [right].
Photo by Medi-Mation

Shock to the System

Soldiers who manage to walk away from explosions in Iraq may actually be suffering terrible—yet invisible—brain trauma. Could blast waves be fueling a new breed of injury?

By Eric Hagerman Posted 08.22.2008

August 15, 2008— The first time Army Specialist Frederick Hussey "got blown up in Iraq," as he says, was on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2006. Hussey was five months into his yearlong deployment as an infantry medic when a cluster of anti-tank explosives jolted his Humvee off the road some 50 miles south of Baghdad. The blast filled the cabin with acrid black smoke, but Hussey was able to jerk the wheel back and steer the truck to safety. "Everybody ended up being OK with that one," Hussey says. "You know—shook up and all, but there was no loss of life. I would say that one just rang my bell really hard."

Hussey stands a sturdy 5-foot-10, speaks with a Southern twang, and prides himself on being the only guy the other guys will hug—the papa bear to his fellow cavalry scouts. He worked for 13 years as a grocery-store manager after returning from the Gulf War, and then in 2004 he reenlisted, asking to be a medic because he wanted to help.

The second, third and fourth times Hussey was hit, he was riding in vehicles when they were destroyed by improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, buried in the road. During one attack, he took shrapnel to the cheek and was briefly knocked out. Another one earned him a patch that reads "IED bait" from his buddies. But each time he managed to walk away.

Number five was the worst. He and six others from his platoon were patrolling on foot near their base when an IED blew everyone off the road. "The last thing I remember was seeing my feet in the sky," Hussey says. "I could hear them hollering for a medic, so I got up, but I kept falling over. I think that's where my headaches and my hearing damage came from." He was back on patrol inside of a week.

Hussey was "functioning at about 75 percent," he says, when two weeks later a rocket-propelled grenade delivered his final blast of the war, exploding against a cement wall 20 yards away as he tried to hustle an injured soldier to safety. It knocked him down but didn't knock him out—another close call.

Or so he thought. Within a year of his return home, Hussey was told he had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychological condition that can develop in the emotional aftermath of a life-threatening event. He was also diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury, the medical term for concussion. Only there's nothing mild about it. His experience left him with constant headaches, nausea, garbled hearing, insomnia and alarming memory lapses. Concussion symptoms are supposed to clear up in a few weeks or months, but two years later, Hussey, 39, still has them. "At first I thought I was doing OK," says Hussey, who is now posted at Fort Jackson, in his hometown of Columbia, South Carolina. "But as time went by, it got to where I couldn't remember the names of guys I was deployed with. I was having difficulty concentrating. It started snowballing, and I was forgetting things and struggling to cope. It's hard to explain, but it's just affected everything I do."

Thousands of American soldiers are coming home with similar complaints. The big mystery is why. Plenty of them have been hit in the head like Hussey, but even those who haven't are turning up with unusually protracted symptoms that resemble those of a serious brain injury. One tantalizing clue is that among the 2,500 soldiers who returned from yearlong tours in 2006, 62 percent reported that they had been exposed to two or more explosions, whereas only 2 percent had suffered gunshot wounds. The trend has researchers wondering: Is there some unaccounted-for mechanism in the blast itself that's causing hidden brain injuries?

Neuroscientist Ibolja Cernak, a medical director at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory, is one of a handful of researchers across the country trying to find out. She believes that blasts may do more than just rattle the head; the shock waves also compress the torso, which may cause pressure waves to ripple through blood vessels like miniature tsunamis, rushing into the brain and damaging tissue. Army Colonel Geoffrey Ling, a neurologist who has treated troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq, agrees that there's probably more to war-zone head trauma than the blunt forces at play in a car accident or football collision [see "Gridiron Gear Goes to War," page 86]. His own theory pinpoints electromagnetic pulses as one possible culprit. Blasts emit intense magnetic fields that may damage brain cells, he contends. "People are seeing a syndrome among these returning veterans," Ling says. "The question I have is, what's causing it? If I know the answer to that, potentially I can prevent it."

With 178,000 soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and thousands more gearing up for second, third and sometimes fourth tours of duty, these questions have sparked a surge in funding. Late last year, Congress earmarked $300 million for basic science research on brain injuries and PTSD. The National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke recently called together more than 100 doctors, neuroscientists, physicists and biomechanical engineers to review the little that is known about blast-related brain injuries. And the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, is in the midst of a yearlong, $9-million effort, led by Ling, to study the effects of blasts on the brain—from chemical and structural alterations to, ultimately, behavioral symptoms.

Meanwhile, soldiers and their doctors are waiting for answers to rudimentary questions about diagnosis and treatment. Above all, what everyone really wants to know is whether blast exposure—with or without direct damage to the head—triggers long-term neurological problems that are waiting to ambush an entire population of veterans.

A Hidden Danger

Some 97 percent of American troops wounded in Iraq come home alive. The survival rate is higher than in any other war, and is largely thanks to improvements in body armor, evacuation procedures and medical care. The Kevlar vests and helmets worn by today's combat troops, for instance, have saved soldiers who may have otherwise died from bullets and shrapnel. The catch is that more of those soldiers are coming home with permanent injuries from explosions than ever before.

There are many ways to be wounded in a blast. The detonation turns the bomb material into pressurized gases that expand instantly, radiating a supersonic wall of air many times as powerful as hurricane-force winds. That primary blast wave leaves a vacuum in its wake, and the pressure differential creates shearing forces that cause organs to expand and then collapse, crushing lungs and bursting eardrums. Shrapnel and debris can cause further damage, and there is always the chance of getting burned by the heat or slammed into something.

What nobody knows is what all these forces do to the brain. A blow to the head from a blunt object can cause a concussion, certainly, but how is it that soldiers are coming home with brain injuries without ever having been hit in the head? A military task force acknowledged in April that the rate of traumatic brain injury "is thought to be significantly higher than in any previous war." In a report called "Invisible Wounds," the public-policy think tank the Rand Corporation estimated that as many as 19.5 percent of soldiers—320,000 of the 1.64 million soldiers sent to Iraq and Afghanistan—may suffer from traumatic brain injury. It's impossible to say how many of them have actual damage, though, because a diagnosis would require more tests, and 57 percent of the people in this group report that they have never undergone medical evaluations for head trauma. "We have one in five soldiers with a probable traumatic brain injury, and we just don't know what that means in terms of future impairments and needs," says Terri Tanielian, a Rand senior research analyst who edited the report. "The unknown really is the public-health concern."

Part of the difficulty facing researchers and doctors is that the military's concusssion-screening questionnaire asks soldiers to report events they may well have forgotten. Even in the hospital, symptoms of mild traumatic brain injuries are easy to miss because the subtle bruising or swelling rarely shows up on scans, and in many cases there may be no gaping wound to call attention to the problem in the first place. So doctors are left to work backward from symptoms: A soldier with a traumatic brain injury might complain of headaches, sleep disturbances, and sensitivity to light and noise, and neuropsychological testing may reveal cognitive sluggishness. Not surprisingly, these changes can make people irritable and transform their overall personality, jeopardizing their relationships and jobs. "They come home a different person," says Hussey's doctor, Steven Scott, who runs the brain-injury clinic at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida. "Almost everyone is willing to accept that there's an emotional component, but they don't feel that's the only explanation. When you look at the power of these blasts, it makes so much sense."

Confounding the diagnosis in blast victims is the overlap with PTSD. It's possible that a violent explosion could cause both physical and psychological trauma. "We do the best we can to try to sort them out," says neurologist Gary Abrams, who heads the rehabilitation center at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Hospital, "but it's very difficult."

As a result, soldiers with undocumented brain injuries may never get the right medical benefits and care. The military is wrestling with how to determine whether soldiers who seem fine after surviving an explosion should return to combat. After all, if every IED victim were evacuated, the loss would gut the military's fighting capability. And from a tactical standpoint, the military needs to know what's causing these injuries before it can design better gear to protect soldiers.


Specialist Hussey keeps a hectic schedule these days. He and his wife are separated, and he takes care of his two teenage sons in a small apartment close to Fort Jackson. Aside from his duties as a single father, his weekly roster of appointments includes 15 to 20 clinical visits—to a neurologist, psychologist, psychiatrist, occupational therapist, physical therapist and pain specialist, as well as PTSD and Alcoholics Anonymous group meetings. The passenger seat in his car used to be littered with appointment slips before the Army issued him a PDA to keep track of it all, as it has started doing with brain-trauma patients.

Probably because his symptoms are so broad, it took a while for Hussey to realize that there might be something wrong beyond the PTSD and physical wounds. It was about five months after he returned from Iraq that he first began to notice mental lapses. He and a fellow medic were catching up, and his buddy mentioned a story about the day they met at a patrol base south of Baghdad in 2006. A mortar had landed inside the compound, and instead of hitting the deck, the Iraqi soldiers with them had fled. "It was kinda comical when it happened," Hussey says. "It was like throwing a wolf into a chicken coop. Those guys just took off. They were running outside the damn patrol base!" But when his friend told the story, Hussey didn't laugh. He was alarmed, because at first he couldn't recall it ever having happened. "He kept trying to convince me and remind me, but I just had absolutely no recollection whatsoever," Hussey says. They went over and over the incident until Hussey eventually pieced together the memory.

Not until Hussey joined an AA program at a Veterans Administration mental-health clinic a year after he returned did he discoverer that he had a brain injury. A nurse who gave him a routine screening test for mild traumatic brain injury—standard for patients at the clinic—diagnosed him on the spot. A doctor at the clinic confirmed the diagnosis, and Hussey was sent to the brain-injury center in Tampa, where he spent two weeks undergoing a battery of tests: brain scans, psychiatric evaluations, EEGs. That's when he met Scott, who mapped out a rehabilitation program for Hussey. Mostly it includes managing symptoms such as chronic pain, headaches and insomnia, and offering ways to organize his life.

Aside from the PDA, Hussey's strategy for dealing with his spotty memory is low-tech. "You just make a list and try to get into a routine," he says. "There's a certain way I drink out of my coffee mug, a certain way I turn the lid. I am routine to hell and back." The repetition strengthens his memory.

His lasting physical wounds include a broken nub of bone and cartilage at the base of his sternum, a scar under his eye from shrapnel, a cracked cervical vertebra that sporadically numbs his arms down to the elbow, and nerve damage in his eye that his neurologist blames for the headaches.

Hussey's case is complicated—but far from unique—and those are the challenges military doctors face in diagnosing battle-related brain injuries. Perhaps even more challenging is pinpointing how the damage happens in the first place.

The Blood-Wave Theory

Scientists have been studying blast waves since the dawn of ballistics, but they have never really looked at what pressure waves do to the brain. The conventional military wisdom is that although the eardrums, lungs and bowels are vulnerable to bursting, the brain—protected as it is by the skull and helmet—is relatively immune.

Not true, says Johns Hopkins's Cernak, who worked as a doctor and researcher at a military hospital in Belgrade from 1986 to 2001 during the Yugoslav wars. When I visit her at her office, she looks formal in her gabardine suit, but her manner is warm (her colleagues call her "Ibi"). Trying to match her brisk stride, it's not hard to picture her on the battlefield collecting blood samples from soldiers, as she did in Belgrade. That's when she first noticed soldiers with unexplained brain injuries.

Cernak conducted a series of intensive tests on 1,300 soldiers who had survived an explosion with extremity wounds but no visible head trauma. She found that half of the soldiers had internal blast injuries that would have been missed without close inspection. But what really caught her attention was that a surprising number of this group complained of neuropsychiatric symptoms such as vertigo, headaches, nausea, dizziness, nightmares, and lapses in memory and concentration.

Blood tests revealed that many had altered brain-hormone levels, and EEG tests showed that 36 percent of the blast-injured group had abnormal brain-wave activity, as did 12 percent of the group with only extremity wounds. When Cernak's team re-administered a battery of neurological and psychological tests up to a year later, 30 percent of the injured group still showed neurological damage, along with 4 percent of the other group. In other words, she found signs of long-term physiological changes in the brains of soldiers who never suffered head wounds. "The major point is that these people did not show improvement, even after one year," Cernak says. "The implication is that even the slightest damage due to a blast may go together with brain dysfunction. But what is the mechanism if the person didn't get hit on the head?"

Ever since her pioneering study, Cernak has been trying to prove her theory that blast waves indirectly damage the brain, and to figure out how. She is now the medical director of the national-security technology department at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory. She spends much of her time working with the engineers in the APL's Impact Biomechanics Test Facility, which houses a hydraulic impact sled for testing car seats and a 60-foot-long steel pipe called a shock tube that simulates the force of a blast wave.

From the protection of the impact lab's control room, one of Cernak's colleagues punches in a computer command to fill a chamber at one end of the shock tube with compressed air and then fire it down the tube at 760 miles per hour. Today's target is a pink plastic torso complete with synthetic organs and dozens of pressure and acceleration sensors to measure the impact of the blast. But Cernak's usual mark is a rodent.

In one of her most cited studies, Cernak compared the brains of rats whose entire bodies were exposed to the blast with another group whose heads and necks were protected with steel helmets. She found that even animals whose heads were perfectly immobilized and shielded develop the biological hallmarks of traumatic brain injury: broken-down nerve pathways, swollen brain cells, accelerated cell death, and the buildup of gunk you would expect to see in a brain-tissue sample of an Alzheimer's patient. The findings suggest that helmets alone may fail to protect the brain from a blast. If true, then combat vests may not only need to deflect the shrapnel from an explosion but also dampen blast-wave frequencies.

How can a blast jump-start brain decay? Cernak theorizes that the rapid compression of organs and tissue in the torso sends a spike of energy rippling through the vessels, including those that loop through the brain. She envisions tiny bursts of pressure that squeeze brain cells and warp the connections between them in ways that are too subtle to show up on standard MRI scans. It's the cumulative result of stretching nerve endings, she believes, that triggers a domino effect of chemical and molecular changes that damage brain cells and disrupt the normal flow of information. It takes time for these changes to snowball, and she thinks this explains what she calls a "slow cooking" of lab animals' brain cells that can lead to long-term tissue degeneration. It might also explain why some soldiers' symptoms never seem to clear up.

School of Hard Knocks

Cernak's lab is not alone in the search. Among the experiments in Darpa's program, called PREVENT (for Preventing Violent Explosive Neurologic Trauma), researchers are exposing pigs to live munitions and then analyzing their brain tissue for damage. During the explosions, sensors record the full range of physical characteristics of the blast, including peak pressure, the frequency of the blast wave, the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) generated by the blast, the burst of light, the volume of noise, and even the gases generated.

Geoffrey Ling, who oversees PREVENT, believes that most scientists are focused too narrowly on the effects of blast pressure. He's not at all convinced that it's the culprit—or at least not the only one. He points out, for instance, that an electromagnetic pulse could affect electrochemical impulses in the brain, but nobody has studied this possibility. Ling notes that steel helmets worn in World War II and Vietnam reflect EMPs, whereas today's Kevlar helmets don't. "A 155-millimeter artillery shell sends out an EMP so strong that it will short-circuit our radios," he says. "If there is something that could short-circuit an electrical pathway in the brain, that could disrupt function, I really want to rule that out."

Pig data is telling, but there's no substitute for a controlled study on humans. One of the most promising is a clinical trial involving breachers. These are the soldiers who blast down doors to storm buildings and, as a result, are guaranteed to get their bells rung on a regular basis. Lee Ann Young, a mechanical engineer who works for Albuquerque defense contractor Applied Research Associates, is studying a group of Marines as they go through breacher school at their base in Quantico, Virginia. Before, during and after their training, they will undergo MRIs and neurobehavioral testing for hearing and balance.

They will be outfitted with pressure gauges to measure the strength of each of up to 40 blasts that they will be exposed to over a two-week period. "They're very low-level blasts," Young says. "I've been in the room, and it doesn't feel that much different than the thump of a speaker at a loud rock concert. The question is whether it's causing some sort of cumulative neurological impairments."

As more stories like Hussey's come out, some experts worry about fomenting fear of a mysterious widespread epidemic. Many make comparisons to the controversy over Gulf War syndrome, a much-debated affliction marked by fatigue, headache, dizziness and respiratory disorders. But although numerous questions remain about what Cernak calls blast-induced neurotrauma, she believes that if scientists accept it as a possibility, there is hope that it can be diagnosed and treated, and perhaps even prevented. "It is not a doomed message," she says. "It is not that you were exposed to a blast, therefore you have a brain injury. But if you don't do anything, the potentially reversible changes can become irreversible."

It's possible that mental exercises such as the ones Hussey practices could improve some cognitive symptoms, given the brain's marked ability to heal itself. But the best medicine of all, Hussey says, was simply getting medical validation of his problems. "I wanted things to make sense to me," he says. "My two weeks down in Tampa answered a lot of questions—a lot of it about my own sanity. I was wondering if it was just me. I don't feel hopeless anymore."

How Blast Waves Ambush the Brain

It's not just flying shrapnel and brute force that cause concussions on the battlefield. Pressure waves may also play a role.

Here's how

An explosion begins with a powerful pulse of hot compressed gas that radiates outward, generating a wave of pressure that can travel up to 1,500 mph. The bigger the bomb, the faster and more forceful the wave. A vacuum of air trails this initial wave, creating a violent suction force that can shear organs.

But little is known about how blast waves damage the brain. Shock waves rattle the head but may also compress the torso, transferring energy to blood vessels. One theory is that the oscillating waves travel through the bloodstream and into the brain, where they twist and kill neurons over time.

Eric Hagerman is a contributing editor for Popular Science. His last article, in March, was about drug-testing sewer systems.

Record numbers of ex-soldiers in UK jails as combat trauma blamed

At least 8,500 former service personnel are in custody - nearly a tenth of the UK prison population. Jamie Doward reports

Jamie Doward
The Observer,
Sunday August 31 2008

'They don't have the right equipment and they're knackered'. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

The number of soldiers who end up in prison for violent offences has increased dramatically in the past four years, according to a report that has raised concerns about the mental health of military personnel returning from war zones. Compiled by probation officers, the report estimates that at least 8,500 former soldiers are in custody - 9 per cent of the UK prison population and nearly double the estimate of a previous study by the Home Office in 2004, which put the figure at 5 per cent.

But even the estimate by Napo, the probation trade union, may be on the low side. In a sign that the Ministry of Defence is increasingly aware of the problem, it recently carried out its own assessment in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice and ex-services charities. A pilot study at Dartmoor prison concluded that almost 17 per cent of inmates had been members of the armed forces.

'It is of real concern that thousands of soldiers are in prison and many more are on parole or community service orders,' said Harry Fletcher of Napo. 'In virtually every incidence the former soldier served in either the Gulf or Afghanistan, became involved in excess alcohol or drug-taking, and was subsequently convicted of an offence of violence.'

The Napo report was compiled from more than 70 case studies. Whatever the true figure, it is apparent that soldiers comprise by far the largest occupational group in the prison system. 'It is clearly worrying that a significant proportion of people in the penal system are ex-servicemen and it doesn't say much for the support given to those leaving the military,' said Andrew Neilson of the Howard League for Penal Reform.

'An inability to cope with civilian life, particularly for those who joined the services on leaving school, can certainly lead to offending and see someone swapping one institution for another.'

Often it is those closest to the soldiers who are victims of their violence. The report cites the example of one serviceman who struggled to adapt to civilian life after six years in the army. His relationship with his partner broke down and she stopped him seeing his children because of his heavy drinking. Verbal abuse turned to physical abuse, which led to a jail sentence.

Another soldier ended up in a prison in Humberside for actual bodily harm. According to his probation report, he started drinking heavily after he returned from having served in Bosnia at the age of 19. The soldier said he had not been prepared for what he saw while on peacekeeping duties. For years he could not get the image of people nailed to trees out of his mind.

'The number of soldiers in prison is definitely on the rise,' said Tracey Johnson of Veterans in Prison, which believes there is a link between the intensity of the army's current missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and the number of soldiers currently in jail. 'They're fighting in back-to-back conflicts, coming out and going back again; they haven't got time to recover. There are not enough of them. They don't have the right cover or equipment and they're absolutely knackered.'

The organisation has been inundated with letters from soldiers in prison. In virtually every case it believes that the writers were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One father said that before his son was jailed for threatening to shoot another soldier, he had been wetting his bed and in floods of tears because 'he couldn't get Iraq out of his head'.

'He told me they often had to raid buildings where they believed terrorists were hiding,' the man wrote. 'Because he is a big strong lad, he had the heavy machine gun and so had to enter these buildings first and in his words "was shit scared". I told him anybody would be in that situation, but I got the impression he felt it was a sign of weakness.'

David Bradley, 43, developed post-traumatic stress after serving in Northern Ireland. In 2006, he shot his uncle, aunt and two cousins at close range with a pistol he had smuggled into the UK after serving in Bosnia. Several hours later, armed with a nail bomb, a sawn-off shotgun and a pistol with silencer and ammunition, Bradley walked into his local police station in Newcastle and calmly said: 'I have killed four members of my family.'

As the incidence of post-traumatic stress becomes more prevalent there are suspicions that some soldiers will cite combat fatigue as an excuse for their criminal behaviour. 'There are those who say they have it as some sort of amelioration for their actions,' conceded Peter Poole, director of welfare services at the charity Combat Stress.

The Napo report provides some of the most credible evidence to date that stress is a major factor behind the rise in the number of soldiers going to jail. Dozens of clinical psychiatric assessments speak of soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress when they attack others. Often the disorder is not identified until the soldier enters the prison system.

'Military operations in recent years have placed the armed forces under increased pressures,' said Derek Howard-Budd, head of welfare at the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association. 'Associated issues like PTSD can take a long time before symptoms develop and much longer to be diagnosed.'

Post-traumatic stress has been dubbed 'the hidden wound' - the injury that is never talked about because of the stigma attached to soldiers suffering psychological problems. 'The idea that it is not a "real" condition is inherited from the First World War, where shell-shock among troops was thought to be a sign of weakness,' said Bridget O'Connell, of the mental health charity Mind. 'Now, with a better understanding of the way trauma affects us, this notion is long-since outdated.'

It was not until he was serving life for murder that Tracey Johnson's husband, Jimmy, who was the victim of a bomb attack while serving in the army in Northern Ireland, became aware he had problems. She fears that many more soldiers will end up going the same way. 'Many of them don't even know they've got it,' she said.

Despite heightened concerns about the prevalence of the condition, there are claims that little is being done to assess soldiers' mental health when they return from war zones. What help is available is usually on an ad hoc basis and often available only when they have been incarcerated. Staff at Everthorpe prison in Brough, East Yorkshire, have become so concerned at the lack of support traumatised soldiers receive upon release that they have taken to issuing them with information packs giving details of mental health charities.

Groups such as Combat Stress can be effective, but have limited resources. 'We can only help those who seek help,' Poole said. 'And there are more people than we are equipped to deal with.'

In a statement to The Observer, the MoD said that counselling was available to service personnel at all times, and pointed out that all troops receive briefings before and after deployment to help them recognise the signs of stress.

'We have launched six pilot schemes of community-based veterans' mental health therapists which will be rolled out across the UK,' the MoD said in a statement. 'Veterans can also receive free mental health assessments from a consultant psychiatrist with a military background. This service is also available to veterans in prison.'

But politicians said it was clear that more needs to be done to identify and treat post-traumatic stress at an early stage. The Labour MP John McDonnell, who is secretary of the Justice Unions All Party Group, said it was time for the government to urgently review systems for supporting serving and retired members of the armed services.

Elfyn Llwyd, a Plaid Cymru MP who has become alarmed at the number of his constituents who have served in the armed forces and are now in prison, said that service personnel and their families were being let down. 'If better treatment was available for these servicemen, hundreds, maybe thousands, would not have offended,' he said.

Veterans In Prison draws comparisons with the United States, where soldiers returning from war zones are put through 'decompression courses' where they are assessed by mental health experts before leaving the base.

'Here they just get them altogether in the barracks and ask them who wants to see a shrink,' Johnson said. 'Nobody's going to put their hand up to that

Saturday, August 30, 2008

EMF-Omega-News 30. August 2008

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Omega-News Collection 30. August 2008


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28 August 2008
AS children across the city prepare to head back for the new term, one local school is so concerned about the possible health affects of the Wi-Fi network - a way of connecting computers to the internet without cables - it has decided not to use the system.
Local community worker Susan Kyle with Ian Thompson principal of Ballinderry Primary School who is against the idea of the school receiving wireless internet. US3408-119AO  Picture By: Aidan O'Reilly
Local community worker Susan Kyle with Ian Thompson principal of Ballinderry Primary School who is against the idea of the school receiving wireless internet. US3408-119AO Picture By: Aidan O'Reilly

The Principal of Ballinderry Primary, Mr Ian Thomson, said he reached his decision, even though the technology has been installed, after a parent approached him sharing her fears that not enough is known about the effects the wireless technology could have on the children and teachers using it.

He explained: "Earlier this year the Department of Education released funds for additional laptops so that the Year 5 children could complete computer based assessments. Part of the deal was the installation of Wi-Fi Technology.

"We experienced difficulties with the new system, connections failed and a lot of teacher time was wasted with initial teething troubles. The teachers persevered and we succeeded in completing the assessments on time.

"It was interesting, when Mrs. Parker, a member of our PTA, approached me with information regarding the possible adverse effects of the radiation produced by Wi-Fi equipment. I was left to ponder if the advantages of Wi-Fi outweighed the risks to the children and staff. I looked at the evidence from both sides and decided not to use Wi-Fi in our school at present."
Local community worker Susan Kyle said that she too is worried.

"As a parent of a child who is beginning school next week I am very concerned about the information I have received from scientific reports and the practices used in other countries on the use of WiFi in schools and its potential affect to children's health.

"With a group of other concerned parents we are seeking further information to ensure our children get the best education in the safest environment possible. There is an alternative - cabling can be used instead of WiFi."

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said he has a met a number of parents from Lisburn area who are concerned and confused by the conflicting information given on the safety of Wi-Fi technology in schools.

He commented: "I have helped arranged for international experts to come across to Northern Ireland and give a presentation about WI-Fi to MLA's and other interested parties. I will also be contacting the Department of Education to investigate and to provide relevant information to provide an assessment.

"Cabling is an alternative and I think the department should explain why it is not a better alternative to Wi-Fi."

Friday, August 29, 2008

Interesting cancer article

(Mathias Rath, M.D developed a natural formula that blocks cancer metastases, you can find his studies in Medline (PubMed).

Response by Dr. Rath to the Invitation
to Become a Reviewer of
the International Journal of Cancer

On August 5, 2008, Dr. Rath received an official invitation from the Editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Cancer (IJC), Professor Harald zur Hausen, to become a scientific reviewer for that journal. Prof. zur Hausen is not only the Editor-in-chief of the IJC, but has served for more than two decades as head of the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany.

For almost half a century, Prof. zur Hausen has been a prominent voice in the pharmaceutically-oriented cancer research community. His invitation to Dr. Rath, a prominent critic of conventional cancer therapies and a pioneer of natural cancer research, is no coincidence. It reflects the beginning of the re-orientation of international cancer research to specifically include vitamins and other micronutrients in the fight against this epidemic.

This re-orientation was brought about by significant advances in micronutrient research in cancer, a new field of medicine led by Dr. Rath and his research team (

Realizing the significance of this historic moment, Dr. Rath invited the International Journal of Cancer and the German Cancer Research Center to join him – based on the widely available scientific evidence – in a global effort to largely eliminate cancer as a cause of death in future generations.

Following is the full text of Dr. Rath's letter to the Editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Cancer:

Professor Harald zur Hausen
Editor in Chief
International Journal of Cancer
Deutsches Krebsforschungs-Zentrum (DKFZ)

August 13, 2008

Dear Professor zur Hausen,

On August 5, 2008 I received a letter signed by you inviting me to become a reviewer for the International Journal of Cancer (IJC) one of the most influential journals in cancer research. Beside your position as the Editor in Chief of the IJC, you have been chairman of the board of the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) in Heidelberg for two decades, one of the world's leading cancer research institutions.

In your letter you invite me to review a paper submitted to your journal for publication, documenting the value of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in the fight against cancer. As the primary reason for this invitation to become a reviewer for your journal you state: "Because of your expertise and experience" in the field of cancer research. I can only interpret this statement as the official recognition of the key role of micronutrients in the control of cancers for which my research team and I have been fighting for more than a decade.

For your entire life you have been a prominent representative of conventional cancer approaches including toxic chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other approaches that primarily served one goal: to use the cancer epidemic as a global market for the pharmaceutical investment business with patented drugs.

For you to contact me – an outspoken critic of these conventional approaches to cancer and a scientific pioneer for new and natural approaches to cancer – was no coincidence. Your decision recognizes two important facts: 1. The deadlocks of pharmaceutically driven approaches to cancer and 2. The compelling perspectives of micronutrients as powerful preventive and therapeutic agents in the control of, essentially, all forms of human cancer.

With your letter you recognize the urgent need for a reorientation of cancer research to specifically include micronutrients in the world-wide fight against cancer. For that decision you should be commended. At the same time, I am fully aware that this step was not voluntary but was compelled by the simple fact that the breathtaking perspective of the natural control of cancer can no longer be ignored. With the world's media regularly reporting the potential of vitamins and other micronutrients in reversing cancer, the dam is broken.

Considering the magnitude of negligence and obstruction towards micronutrients from the side of pharmaceutical medicine and considering the deadly consequences of this opposition for millions of cancer patients, your letter marks a turning point. It is obvious, however, that such a turning point in history cannot be guided by those who share responsibility for – or have at least tolerated – one of the darkest chapters in the history of mankind: the medical genocide in cancer.

In this situation, I have decided to respond to your letter in the form of an Open Letter to be shared with those most concerned about the way forward: The millions of cancer patients around the world. I am addressing you:

  • with the authority of the scientists whose discoveries now pave the way for the natural control of cancer;
  • with the confidence of one of the world's leading research teams having paved the way for the natural control of cancer (;
  • and in full recognition of the historic opportunity that now presents itself to all mankind: to largely eliminate cancer as a scourge for our children, grandchildren and all future generations.

Before outlining the way forward, I consider it my duty to raise some of the questions from a consternated and outraged public you and your colleagues will have to answer in the months to come:

  • The first studies that documented the potential value of vitamins in the fight against cancer were published more than half a century ago, when you were still a student. Why was this research neglected for decades by pharmaceutical cancer research? Because vitamins were not patentable?
  • In the intervening 50 years since the answer of pharmaceutical-oriented cancer research has been chemotherapy and radiology - therapeutic options of which the most frequent side-effects are to cause even more cancer. Why did pharmaceutical-oriented cancer researchers not promote effective and safe natural alternatives? Because keeping the cancer epidemic alive for 5 decades brought the drug companies more than a trillion dollars in sales?
  • For two decades you were the head of the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg with a total research budget of more than a billion Euros. Much of this money was public and taxpayer money provided for research in the public interest, namely to eliminate cancer. However, under your leadership much of this money was wasted for the development of ever more toxic chemotherapies, or for questionable vaccines with yet unpredictable side-effects. Why was this money not used for research with vitamins and other effective and safe cancer therapies? Who will pay back these hundreds of millions of wasted Euros?
  • In 1992 you published a research paper in the June 11 edition of the Journal of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). The results of your studies showed that retinoic acid, a form of vitamin A, can inhibit the development of cervical cancer cells infected with the so-called papillomavirus. Did you ever inform the public about these important results? Did you conduct clinical studies to save the lives of cancer patients, many of them young women? Did you ever stand up when vitamin A was publicly discredited over many years in the interest of the pharmaceutical industry?
  • On March 8, 2002, our research institute published the breakthrough in the field of cancer research showing the potentiating effect of a micronutrient combination in controlling cancer: "Our research proves that vitamin C, lysine, proline and specific extracts from green tea (polyphenols) can inhibit the spread of cancer cells." To reach not only the scientific and medical community but also those millions of people directly affected by this disease, we published these findings on a full page in the world's largest newspaper, USA Today. Why didn't you take this life-saving information and make every effort to confirm it at your center?
  • In March 2003, together with researchers from our institute, we organized a lecture tour through Germany . We selected the five university cities, which are known to have a special focus in cancer research, among them Heidelberg , where the DKFZ is located. While the lecture halls were packed with patients, none of your researchers contacted us to initiate a scientific collaboration. Why?
  • In 2004, when the pharmaceutical industry and its stakeholders in medicine and the media launched an unprecedented attack against our natural cancer research, did you stand up for the scientific facts? What will you tell those millions of cancer patients who over decades were deliberately misled about the health benefits of micronutrients? What will you tell the relatives of those cancer patients who discontinued taking micronutrients as a result of this misinformation and who paid the ultimate price?
  • In 2005 our research team sent research results for publication to your International Journal of Cancer about the strong effects of micronutrients in skin cancer (melanoma) – a particularly aggressive form of cancer. Instead of publishing it and sharing this important research with scientists and doctors around the world, publication was declined without your journal even having reviewed the data. Why has the International Journal of Cancer for decades almost exclusively published cancer research directly or indirectly serving the pharmaceutical investment interests? As the editor in chief of this journal, how could you let that happen?
  • In October 2006, I had to stand trial in a Hamburg court for publicly stating that vitamins and micronutrients help in the fight against cancer and for defending our research in this field. Because of the strength of our research, I did not have to go to jail. To the contrary, the judge described us as "pioneers" for a new era in cancer research. Where were you and your colleagues from the DKFZ? Did you take positions on the side of science and on behalf of millions of cancer patients?
  • That same year, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) a scientific journal similar in influence to your own, embarked on a global defamation campaign against vitamin and micronutrient research in cancer. A London court approved a record fine against the BMJ of GBP 100,000. Did you, as the Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Cancer, take public positions in this important debate?

While the truth about the life-saving role of micronutrients in the fight against cancer was obstructed over decades, more than six million cancer patients worldwide died each year. They paid the ultimate price for the obstruction of the truth in the interests of the pharmaceutical investment business with the cancer epidemic. In light of this historic failure it would be na├»ve to think that a solution can come from those researchers that were largely responsible for this tragedy – or at least tolerated it.

In the interest of millions of cancer patients I therefore consider it incumbent upon me to direct the way forward. Here is what needs to be done immediately:

  • Dedicate 50% of each future edition of the International Journal of Cancer to scientific and medical reports in the field of micronutrient research and other science-based natural health approaches to cancer.
  • Assure that science-based natural health research is adequately represented in the International Journal of Cancer by appointing new members to the editorial board, making sure that they are experts in the field of vitamin and micronutrient research and that they represent 50% of the members of the new board.
  • Appoint researchers from the field of micronutrient research to the governing bodies of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and allocate 50% of all future DKFZ budgets to micronutrient research in cancer.
  • Help make sure that micronutrient therapies are reimbursed by the health insurance providers as scientifically proven therapies in the fight against cancer.

In the interest of millions of people, these tasks need to be tackled immediately. Considering the immense task to redirect cancer research on a global level, your invitation for me to join your journal as a reviewer is a drop in the ocean.

I am inviting you and your research colleagues to join us in a vigorous international effort with the defined goal to end the cancer epidemic forever. The scientific rationale to reach this goal is available. What needs to be done now is to organize a global effort to end cancer, involving science, medicine, politics and all other sectors of society.

With millions of lives at stake, if you stay indifferent now, history will judge you. If you decide to act, we will join our forces towards this great goal all mankind has been waiting for. If this is the goal, my research team and I are ready to cooperate with your journal and your research colleagues at every level.

As a first step we propose to jointly organize a public symposium between your journal, the DKFZ and our research institute. At this symposium the best researchers from the DKFZ and from our research team would present their research to an audience of patients, doctors and the public at large. Such a symposium could serve as the beginning of an international campaign carried by our research institutes and others who will join us towards the eradication of cancer.

I am looking forward to your response.

Sincerely yours,

Matthias Rath, M.D.

/ Wi-fi and Wi-max - Why You Shouldn't Use Them

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wi-fi and Wi-max - Why You Shouldn't Use Them

The hot new craze in Internet access is Wi-Fi and its soon-to-be big brother Wi-Max. Wi-Fi is a wireless connection that allows users to access the Internet without the computer being connected to a cable. And yes, it's very convenient. Imagine walking from the sofa to the bedroom with your laptop and never loosing your connection. Imagine the freedom and flexibility afforded schools and office workers. No more ugly bothersome cables to tie you down. You're free to roam the Internet with your fingers while roaming your home, school or office with your feet. Freedom to move and freedom to surf. Perfect for the individual who is on the go and up to date with the latest technology. You can even have free Internet access at your local coffee shop. Same for airports. What a great idea. Or is it?

What exactly is Wi-Fi? Wi-Fi is a common term that stands for 'wireless fidelity.' It simply means that a computer can access the Internet without wires or cables. In other words, it allows one to have a wireless connection to the Internet. It's like taking a cell phone base station and placing it in your home, schoolroom or office area. Wi-Fi is basically the same type of connection as used to operate a cell phone. It's a product of convenience as it allows one to access the Internet with a desktop or laptop computer without the need for connecting cables. Moving from room to room with a laptop computer and no cables is a nice convenience although it certainly isn't a necessity.

How does Wi-Fi work? Wi-Fi is really very similar to your cell phone. Radio signals are transmitted from the computer or Bluetooth device to a wireless router, sometimes called a wireless access point (WAP) or wireless local area network (WLAN). The router then sends the signal to the Internet through a cable modem. So this router or wireless access point is really the device responsible for transmitting the harmful radio waves. Any number of computers or devices can be configured to connect to one wireless router to make Internet connections. The workable distance is about a range of 300 feet or more from the wireless access point while most distances for good connections are maintained at about 100 feet. And, of course there are many variables that can affect this connection. Laptop computers and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) are the most common devices utilizing Wi-Fi technology.

Wi-Fi Emits Radio Frequencies Wireless connections emit radio frequency signals, or radiation, just like cell phones, cell phone towers and other wireless devices. Wi-Fi usually transmits its signal at frequencies in the range of 2.4GHz to 5 GHz. Cordless phones often transmit in the 2.4GHz to 5 GHz range, too, and this often causes the cordless phone to interfere with a wireless internet connection to a nearby computer. The Wi-Fi frequency is considerably higher than the frequencies used for cell phones which operate in the 850 MHz to1900 MHz range. This higher frequency allows more data to be carried. However, as we'll see later, it is not the frequency of the signal that does the damage to our health. So the higher Wi-Fi frequency isn't really the issue at all when it comes to health considerations.

Wi-Fi Hotspots Now In Schools Wi-Fi has become popular in the home, office, the airport and coffee shops. Many cities are now installing "hot spots" where one can take a laptop computer and freely access the Internet over the provided network. This is what is known as a "hot spot." It's a place to make a wireless connection to the Internet. And they are springing up everywhere. Entire cities are becoming wireless allowing one to connect to the Internet from anywhere in the city. And due to the ease of convenience Wi-Fi connections in schools are now becoming quite popular, too. No longer are computers hard-wired to a connection in a classroom. Connections are now virtual and allow the user, student or teacher, the freedom to connect anywhere in the school without the burden of being restricted by cable connections.

Why Wireless Connections Are Harmful There are two potentially harmful mechanisms in which Wi-Fi users, including school children, may be harmed. The first mechanism involves the exposure to radiation from the distance or proximity of the user to the computer monitor. This form of exposure originates from the electromagnetic field being given off by the monitor itself and has nothing to do with the wireless connection. Electromagnetic radiation is given off by the computer screen regardless of whether the connection is wired or wireless. Any and all computer screens produce electromagnetic radiation. These electromagnetic fields can be substantial in strength and can reach levels much higher than the 1 milligauss (1 mG) threshold level of exposure recommended by experts as being safe. Such a field can easily be measured with an inexpensive instrument called a gauss meter.

The second mechanism of harm comes from the radiation or radio wave itself. The wireless signal, oscillating at 2.4 to 5 GHz, moves much too fast for the body to recognize. So this wave isn't doing the damage. However, anytime any data or information is transmitted, say through our voice, through text messages or through the sending of information, the data is packaged and "piggy-backed" onto the first wave. This creates a second carrier wave and this wave is called the information-carrying radio wave, or ICRW. It is the information-carrying radio wave that is producing the harm. Here's how this happens. This second carrier wave, or ICRW, oscillates in a much lower Hertz (Hz) range that is easily recognized by the body. When the ICRW comes in contact with the body the body recognizes this wave and responds to it as if this carrier wave were some type of foreign invader. When this happens certain physiologic changes occur which are very significant. First, at the cellular level, the cell membrane becomes hard and inflexible. This occurs because the active transport channels shut down as the cell goes into a protection mode. This hardening effect of the cell membrane also causes the cell to lose its permeability, meaning needed nutrients can't get inside the cell where they are needed. In other words, the cell doesn't get nourished.

Conversely, since the cell membrane is hardened and less permeable, the toxins and free radicals that build up inside the cell, as a natural part of our daily metabolism, can't get out. The buildup of toxins and free radicals inside the cell causes other problems. These toxic products damage the mitochondria in the cell. If you'll remember from biology class the mitochondria are where energy for the body is produced. When this energy-producing process is damaged the cell begins to lose its ability to function.

In addition, cells lose their ability to communicate with one another. When one cell can't communicate with another cell and messages don't get sent or received the body can't respond properly to any type of stress, injury, or invasion. Furthermore, the DNA inside the cell becomes damaged. Fragments of DNA break off and form something called micronuclei. Micronuclei are precursors to cancer formation. And when enough energy is lost and when enough malnourishment occurs the cell eventually becomes dysfunctional and dies. When enough cells die the tissues are affected. When enough tissue is affected organs become damaged and don't work properly. And the cascade of damaging events begin that can lead to a multitude of symptoms and failure of the body's defense mechanisms to act appropriately.

The Wi-Fi Problem Think of Wi-Fi this way. It's really nothing more than a small version of a cell phone tower placed in the classroom or office. Or, it could be similar to having a cordless phone in your home with multiple handsets throughout the house. The base station is the access point and all the peripheral phones connect with it wirelessly. The radio frequency radiation being emitted is the same. The information-carrying radio wave is being transmitted continuously 24 hours a day. The connections from the computers and other wireless devices throughout the school, office or home to the wireless access points cause any user around them, (children, teacher, staff, etc.) to be continuously exposed. Everyone in the building is caught in the crossfire of the continual access to the wireless access points. Even non-users are exposed because of the blanketing effect of these wireless access points throughout the building. So no one escapes the exposure.

In understanding the danger of Wi-Fi we must remember that it is not the type of device, in this case a wireless access point or router that is important. Rather it is the type of radio frequency radio waves that are being produced by the device that are significant. Whether from a wireless router, a cell phone, a cell phone tower, or personal digital assistant (PDA), electromagnetic frequencies are produced by all these devices. We must look at the technology being used by these devices and not the device itself as the problem. This should be the primary concern as we evaluate their safety, particularly in the classroom.

Another important aspect of Wi-Fi exposure is that of modulation. Modulation refers to whether or not the signal frequency is constant or pulsed. The new digital cell phones operate on a pulsed frequency, as does all wireless technology. Studies have shown that these pulsed signals are a greater risk than analog, non-pulsed signals. 1

Certainly, by the addition of any type of wireless we are adding to the burden of electropollution we are all currently exposed to. Special consideration should be given to the additional exposure that Wi-Fi technology would bring to those in a classroom, including the instructors, teachers, staff and certainly students.

Children Are More Vulnerable Concern about the increased vulnerability to electropollution by children has valid reasoning. Since the skull bones of the head don't fully harden until about age 22 the skull bones of a child's head are softer than that of an adult. A softer head bone translates to easier penetration through the skull and into the head by radio frequency radiation. Furthermore, the head of a child contains more water since the brain is not fully developed. It would make sense then that water will act as a conductor to electromagnetic radiation increasing the possibility of even further damage. And since a child's brain and nervous system is still developing it only stands to reason that the potential damage would be greater since cells that are in a growing phase are more easily damaged.

And finally, exposing children in the elementary schoolroom will add to both the amount of electromagnetic radiation exposure and the accumulated length of exposure over their lifetime that they will be exposed. No one can argue that the children of today's generation will be exposed to far greater amounts of electromagnetic radiation and will be exposed to it for a much longer period of time than any generation before. We simply don't know the consequences of this increased and cumulative exposure. And it's an experiment that we shouldn't place our children in. Why set up these networks without understanding any of the long-term consequences? Did we not learn a lesson from the tobacco and asbestos industries?

Effects of WirelessRadio Frequency Radiation Although no studies have been done on Wi-Fi per se there is a generous amount of research that has been carried out on cell phones, cell phone towers and masts. Since the Wi-Fi signal is the same type of radiation (only the frequency is different) one can assume with reasonable assurance that the effects of exposure to Wi-Fi will follow the same pattern of exposure to cell phones and cell phone towers.

Here's an example of what can happen. Let's say one works in a schoolroom or office where wireless access, or Wi-Fi, is used. In other words, we are continually exposed to a constant bombardment of electromagnetic radiation waves. Over time, sitting or working in this classroom or office, the cells of the body gradually loose their energy and consequently their ability to communicate. What if the function of a particular group of cells was to maintain the integrity of the blood-brain barrier? The blood-brain barrier is an intricate membrane that keeps harmful substances and toxins from contacting sensitive brain tissue. But what if the cells of the blood-brain barrier can't communicate or don't work any longer? The barrier would break down and this would allow harmful substances to enter. Those substances would then come in contact with sensitive brain cells. The result would be injured and damaged brain cells. This is just one example of how a particular group of cells can be adversely affected by electromagnetic radiation. In fact, studies have shown that placing a call on cell phone for just two minutes can disable the blood-brain barrier. 2 The same case could be made for the immune system and any other major "system" of the body since different cellular groups perform different functions to keep us healthy.

There are more than a dozen studies linking an increased risk for brain cancer and acoustic neuroma (tumor of the auditory nerve) to radio frequency radiation from cell phones and cordless phones. 3

Even the World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned about the effects of radiofrequency radiation on children's health. In a recent WHO publication they wrote:

"The possible adverse health effects in children associated with radiofrequency fields have not been fully investigated."

"Because there are suggestions that RF(radio frequency) exposure may be more hazardous for the fetus and child due to their greater susceptibility, prudent avoidance is one approach to keeping children's exposure as low as possible."

"Further research is needed to clarify the potential risks of ELF-EMF and radiofrequency fields for children's health."

Neurobehavioral effects of inhabitants living near a cell phone tower base station have also been studied. The following neuropsychiatric complaints were reported: headache (23.5%), memory changes (28.2%), dizziness (18.8%), tremors (9.4%), depressive symptoms (21.7%), and sleep disturbances (23.5%). 4 In addition, tests of attention and short-term auditory memory were significantly lower in the exposed participants than in control groups.

Obviously, people living close to cell phone towers have an increased risk for developing neurobehavioral problems.

Will We Medicate Our Children Unnecessarily? If indeed neurobehavioral symptoms are produced by radio frequency radiation and these frequencies are continually emitted throughout our schools what might this suggest about the abnormal behavior of students in the classroom? Might parents be inclined and persuaded to medicate their children so that these undesirable symptoms can be controlled? If so, how many of these children would be medicated unnecessarily? Studies now show that the frequencies such as that emitted by cell phones cause abnormal brain hyperactivity. Such artificially induced hyperactivity would cause an unnecessary risk and expense to students who would be placed on some form of pharmaceutical intervention to aid in controlling these symptoms. Many of the drugs used in controlling hyperactivity, such as Ritalin, Concerta, and methylphenidate are in the amphetamine-like class of pharmaceuticals. What a tragedy it would be to find out years later that this form of medication was unnecessary and could have been avoided if we would have chosen precaution over convenience.

Learning Issues As discussed earlier, the mechanism of harm caused by electromagnetic frequencies occurs at the cellular level. The eventual outcome of this harm is disruption of cell-to-cell communication. When the disruption of cell communication occurs cells can't "talk" to each other. When cells can't communicate cognition is affected, the ability to learn is affected, the ability to retain information is affected, and behavioral problems can occur.

Makes Kids Susceptible To Other Stressors Radiofrequency radiation is also a stressor to the body. The mere fact that the cells of the body react to these frequencies as discussed earlier indicates that they are harmful. When the stress response occurs from exposure to electromagnetic frequencies the body responds by releasing stress proteins, also known as heat shock proteins, to minimize the ensuing damage. The release of heat shock proteins is just one stress response mechanism that has been identified. Other mechanisms include the triggering of adrenal hormones like adrenaline. Continual stress is not healthy as it can eventually fatigue the adrenal gland, suppress the immune system, and lead to fatigue causing difficulty in concentration. Sleep disturbances may also occur.

Immune System Affected Evidence also exists that radio frequencies produced by such devices as cell phones, Wi-Fi, computers, televisions, etc. can trigger skin reactions.5 Microwave frequencies can trigger the release of chemicals from mast cells. Mast cells in the skin will break open and release chemicals that cause the symptoms of allergic skin reactions. 6 One of the chemicals released by mast cells is histamine. Histamine is often responsible for the symptoms of allergies such as runny nose, watery eyes, inflammation and difficulty breathing. Histamine also constricts the airway leading to or worsening the symptoms of asthma. It is of interest to note that the rate of asthma in children has doubled since 1980 and asthma now affects one in 10 children. The cell phone was introduced in1983 and has seen explosive growth in use in the last decade. Could there be a correlation between the rising rates of asthma, an immune system problem, and the escalating use of cell phones and wireless technology? Certainly, one could anticipate that chronic exposure to these radio waves over time can lead to chronic inflammatory responses.

Electromagnetic Radiation Connected To Autism A recent study has now suggested a direct link between autism and electromagnetic radiation. It appears that EMR may accelerate autistic spectrum disorders. 7 It is noteworthy that the increasing rates of autism parallel the growth of the cell phone and wireless industry. This appears to occur as a result of the trapping of heavy metals within the cell and the inability of the body to excrete the toxic metals present that are often introduced into the body through vaccinations. Heavy metals are neurotoxic. When this excretory process is prohibited these heavy metals, such as mercury, lead, beryllium, and aluminum, damage nerve structures and interfere in inter-cellular communication. This leads to neurological problems and conditions like those found in autism spectrum disorders. This particular study has shown that when electromagnetic radiation is largely eliminated the efficiency of heavy metal detoxification and removal was dramatically increased. In other words, the body was able to excrete and eliminate heavy metals when it had not been able to do so previously. This leads to the suggestion that (1) we need to reduce or eliminate electromagnetic radiation from any child's environment and (2) measures need to be taken to repair the damage that has already been done by electromagnetic radiation. Although this study looked specifically at autism the same case could be made for attention-deficit disorders and related conditions.

Occupational Hazard For Teachers And School Staff Children will attend school in a particular building for a finite number of years and then move on. For a child the length of time spent in a particular building or location is predetermined. Therefore their exposure levels to this form of radiation will probably change. But what about the teachers and staff members who continue to work in the same building for many, many years? For these workers and teachers the exposure in their building from Wi-Fi networks and radio frequency radiation is continual. What are the effects of this exposure after years and years of time? Will teaching in a Wi-Fi enabled school become an occupational hazard like that of an electrician? These are questions that must and should be answered before, rather than after, any installation of radiation-generating equipment is placed in service.

Wi-Fi In European Schools The European Environment Agency is calling for immediate steps to be taken to reduce exposure to Wi-Fi, cell phones and cell phone towers and masts. Recent international scientific reviews have concluded that electromagnetic radiation safety limits are "thousands of times too lenient" and one official British report came to the conclusion that the development of cancer from cell phone use could not be ruled out.

Sir William Stewart, chairman of the Health Protection Agency in the UK, is calling for a formal investigation into the hazards of using wireless networks in schools. He's asking that students be monitored for health problems from the networks. Joining him in health concerns over Wi-Fi installations in schools, the Professional Association of Teachers are calling for the Secretary of State for Education in the UK to begin an official inquiry into the issue.

Recently, parents of children at an English school have won a major battle in getting a mast tower removed from their school. Parents indicated that both students and staff complained of symptoms such as insomnia, headaches and numbness. It seems 56 percent of children had trouble sleeping, 54 percent developed headaches and migraines, and 46 percent reported dizziness and numbness. 86 percent of staff members had problems sleeping, 59 percent reported headaches, and 95 percent of staff reported fatigue and numbness. Nosebleeds, nausea, and dizziness were also reported. 8

Dr. Gerd Oberfield, head of environmental health and medicine in the province of Salzburg, Austria, calls the installation of Wi-Fi "dangerous." In fact, the government in Salzburg has been advising schools not to install Wi-Fi for well over a year now and is considering a complete ban on Wi-Fi networks.

Stowe School in Great Britian recently removed its Wi-Fi equipment from its building. One of its schoolmasters who had taught there for 28 years developed headaches and nausea immediately after Wi-Fi was installed.

International Association of Fire Fighters In 2004, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) voiced its opinion on cell phone towers and antennas by opposing the installation of cell phone antennas on or near fire stations until a credible study can be done to establish their safety. In studying the available science the IAFF found over 49 references that led them to conclude that they should oppose the placement of cell phone antennas on fire stations. Some of the effects that have been documented by fire fighters include slowed reaction times, sleep deprivation, severe headaches, lack of focus, tremors, and vertigo. 9

What About Wi-Max The latest development in the world of digital communication is something called Wi-Max. Wi-Max is intended for use as a network for large metropolitan areas. Where Wi-Fi is limited to a range of about 100-300 feet, Wi-Max can provide broadband wireless access up to 30 miles from fixed base stations and 3-10 miles from mobile base stations. It's been described as Wi-Fi on steroids. It's used in much the same way as Wi-Fi and will soon become the standard for Internet access. Imagine the implications. Whole metropolitan cities blanketed with Wi-Max wireless coverage. How convenient and "connected" do we really need to be?

Conclusion We currently have no studies that are specific to Wi-Fi. However, when assessing the safety issue we can and should look at technologies that are similar and relevant to Wi-Fi to draw our conclusions. This would seem appropriate since Wi-Fi operates in the same manner as other more heavily studies similar technology and the basic mechanism of harm from all wireless technology is the same.

There are countless reports and studies raising caution signals about the effects on human health from exposure to cell phone radiation, cell phone towers, Wi-Fi, and wireless technology in general. The fact remains that wireless technology is a potential carcinogen. So was tobacco. So was asbestos. So were X-Rays. Like these other hazards, which were all at one time only "potential carcinogens," wireless technology needs further study before we decide to randomly subject ourselves and our children to the potential harmful effects it seems to cause. How long will we wait for these studies? Another 20 years or more? How many lives will be adversely affected or lost while we take the wait-and-see approach?

What can you do? Don't let your children use a cell phone. Don't live near a cell phone tower. Don't use wireless Internet connections or cordless phones in your home. Provide good nutrition to your children in the form of lots of fruits and vegetables. Everyone needs lots of antioxidants to protect themselves from the free radicals being produced by these high levels of radiation. Good quality water is a must, too.

Get involved in your child's school. Get on the school board. Ask questions regarding the use of Wi-Fi in the school. Object to the installation of such equipment if and when the possibility is discussed.

School districts today are under ever-increasing financial pressures. Healthy lease money is being provided by the wireless industry to install cell phone antennas on school buildings. Once again, this is an unneeded and unnecessary exposure risk for our young people. Does the extra income provided by the wireless industry outweigh the potential risk to our children? The studies say no and we as parents and responsible citizens need to convey that message to our school boards and legislators.

Two-time Nobel Prize nominee, Dr. Gerald Hyland, a physicist, had this to say about cell phone towers. "Existing safety guidelines for cell phone towers are completely inadequate. Quite justifiably, the public remains skeptical of attempts by government and industry to reassure them that all is well, particularly given the unethical way in which they often operate symbiotically so as to promote their own vested interests."

For more information on the health hazards of wireless technology, cell phones, Wi-Fi, etc. visit For an ongoing discussion of the latest information on the health hazards of wireless technology visit


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7. Mariea, Tamara and Carlo, George. Wireless Radiation in the Etiology and Treatment of Autism: Clinical Observations and Mechanisms; Journal of the Australian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, August 2007.

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Lynn Quiring is a Registered Pharmacist, Baord Certified Clinical Nutritionist, and holds a degree in naturopathic medicine. He also holds diplomas in homeopathy and hormone regulation therapy. He is an expert in cell phone radiation and EMFs and their health effects on the body. He has practiced in natural medicine for over 10 years. He currently owns and operates Logical Health LLC. He can be contacted by emailing to