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The importance of recognising EHS
In September 2005 it was announced in the national press that a forthcoming Health Protection Agency (HPA) report from its Radiation Protection Division, acknowledges for the first time the reality of electrohypersensitivity (EHS). The acknowledgement may fuel legal action by sufferers who claim mobile phone masts have made them ill.
Before the results are hedged about by clauses of degrees of EHS, individual diagnosis and proof, and denials of specific kinds of sources pending further research, lets step back and recognise the true importance of this recognition.
A core argument put forward by the HPA from the beginning is that the long list of symptoms attributed to EHS is far too diverse to conceivably be caused by electromagnetic fields (EMFs). One or two factors maybe (they have always said), but not all. Therefore EHS is a figment of the imagination, and indeed such a position was supported in a paper in the American Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine by researchers on the government MTHR (Mobile Telephones and Health Research) programme.
However, now we have the possibility that the diversity is indeed being recognised. And this is crucially important.
Many people have wondered why the list of symptoms of EHS is so similar to that for multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), indeed to Gulf War syndrome (GWS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Why the diversity, and why the overlap? Further, is there any connection between the longer-latency serious diseases that people are detecting as clusters, not only in relation to power lines, but to mobile phone masts? How could cancer and motor neurone disease (MND / ALS) possibly be connected with EMF? Surely there can be no reasonable link between little things like being unable to sleep, or getting a headache, and dying from cancer, or being crippled by neurological diseases?
What if a link could be shown?
If there were a link between EHS and worse, the outcome of this latest report would not be a call for palliative medication and symptomatic supression. Rather, we would be recognising the canary in the coal mine and watching them as indicative of greater potential problems. Coal miners did not pat their ailing canaries on the head, or feed them better seed, or give them oxygen. They knew it was time to leave a dangerous environment. So would we if there were a connection between EHS and worse.
The constant reposte from the HPA about the possibility of cancer from high voltage power lines and from masts is that the radiation is non-ionising, and compared with sunlight there is no way that photons from non-ionising sources could break the strong covalent bonds between molecular components of DNA. And for some reason they appear to insist that cancer only comes from DNA whose bonds have been broken by high energy ionising radiation. Quite apart from the fact that this is not true (DNA can be damaged during transcription by very much lower energies), the recent European REFLEX studies again demonstrated broken DNA strands (single and double) from mobile phone EMFs, as previously demonstrated by Lai and Singh. Moreover, we know that cancers are also caused by free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS).
So lets just set aside this notion that all cancers are caused by ionising radiation, and accept that there are a number of mechanisms.
My research into a possible link began in the middle, over concerns for a patently obvious case of epilepsy induced in a little girl by proximity to phone masts. As I investigated the peer reviewed research papers into what may be happening, I began to realise that there was indeed a common thread with the EHS symptoms. Several studies had already demonstrated disruption to the activity of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), an enzyme that is found in three forms in the body, performing the role of generating nitric oxide (NO), which has a hugely varied but critical role, including as a vasodilator and a neurotransmitter. In fact, if the behaviour of NOS were to be deliberately disrupted, the widely varied symptoms of EHS could all be produced.
Now that is at least interesting.
(My researches did indeed indicate how epilepsy might be induced or affected by EMFs by this route, and I would urge you, if you take this matter seriously at all, to take the trouble to wade through 15 pages of Electromagnetic Radiation and Epilepsy that make all the difference to the argument. No? Well, at least read page 6.)
By the time I had completed this issue, it was clear that there was a common strand linking all the EHS symptoms, in the effects of altered nitric oxide levels in the body, not through acute exposure, but by constant low-level exposure. Other enzymes are also implicated, notably superoxide dismutase (SOD) which has key interactions within the lifecycle of NO. But what was more concerning was that I could have written a similar paper explaining thyroid problems, fibromyalgia, Alzheimers, heart problems and blood pressure, blood conditions such as Hughes syndrome (sticky blood), motor neurone disease, and indeed cancers. All of these are conditions becoming associated (initiated or worsened) by people to living in proximity to masts. All are linked by key enzyme changes, and NOS and SOD are central.
What was also interesting was that Prof. Martin Pall, investigating the so-similar MCS and CFS, had already come to the same conclusion over the range of symptoms and NOS as the key common factor.
The true significance of recognising EHS now becomes clear. There is a syndrome, there are characteristic defining symptoms, and the symptoms have a common link. EHS has meaning and can begin to be understood.
But if the common link for EHS symptoms is primarily NOS and SOD, the canary sits up to sing. We already know that disruption of such enzymes: (a) does take place under EMFs similar to mobile phones and masts, and: (b) that there is an avalanche effect that most certainly can result, in the worst case, in MND / ALS and cancers. If EHS is real, if the symptoms have common cause, and if this common cause can be identified, then the extrapolation of the downstream consequences has to be taken seriously.
That extrapolation includes diseases now being observed in clusters after 6 to 10 years exposure around masts. We had all better be 120 per cent certain that the common link betwen EHS symptoms is not these enzyme effects, or we are possibly facing the explanation of mast studies such as Naila, Netanya, Skrunda, and by Santini et al., Navarro et al., and Oberfeld et al., the observations in the UK by Dr John Walker, and in Usafia, Bavaria etc. It would also perhaps explain the elevated risk of neuromas on the phone side of the head among mobile phone users after 10 years, as shown by the latest Interphone studies.
EHS may indeed be the canary singing out for a public health disaster from living with a completely filled spectrum of electromagnetic radiation in our environment, when we evolved with one that was virtually empty.
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