The Effects of Exposure to Low Frequency Electromagnetic Fields on Male Fertility.

Author: Darbandi M, Darbandi S, Agarwal A, Henkle R, Sadeghi MR
Conference/Journal: Altern Ther Health Med.
Date published: 2017 Jun 23
Other: Pages: AT5423 , Word Count: 376

Context • People are increasingly exposed to low frequency (LF) electromagnetic fields (EMFs), mainly from electricity distribution networks and electronic devices. Critics of this widespread exposure believe that it can have detrimental effects on the human body. On the other hand, many in vivo and in vitro studies have claimed that low frequency electromagnetic therapy can function as a form of alternative medicine and that therapists can treat disease by applying electromagnetic radiation or pulsed EMFs to the body or cells. It is not yet entirely clear, however, whether LF-EMF is beneficial or harmful. Objectives • This study aimed to examine the effects of LF-EMFs on men's reproductive functions, according to the types of waveform and the frequency and duration of exposure. Design • The study reviewed all available research, both human and animal, on the effects of LF-EMFs on male reproductive functions, covering the literature from January 1978 to June 2016. The documents were obtained from PubMed, Science Direct, and Google Scholar, and any article that was irrelevant or a duplicate was excluded. A total of 61 articles were found, and 27 articles were reviewed. Setting • This project was performed at the Avicenna Research Center (Tehran, Iran). Participants • Literature included human and animal studies conducted on rabbits, mice, rats, and boars. Intervention • Among these studies, any article that was irrelevant, a duplicate, or published with duplicate data was excluded. At the end, 27 articles were checked. Outcome Measures • Outcome measures included testing related to reproductive organ weights, reproductive endocrinal hormones, fetal development, and spermatogenesis as well as sperm motility, morphology, and vitality. Results • The reviewed studies provided contradictory results that were highly dependent on the exposure parameters, such as the shape and frequency of wave, intensity, duration, and timing of the exposure. Conclusions • LF-EMF at 15 Hz with a peak intensity of 8 Gauss, with a square waveform of 50 Hz frequency and a duration of a few hours or less can have a positive effect on sperm quality, motility, and fertility. Exposures at other frequencies either had no effects on the sperm's performance and quality or held biological hazard for cells. It appears that there is still little understanding of how EMF affects cellular functions. Therefore, more standardized and controlled studies should be carried out to understand the effects of EMF on the body.

PMID: 28646801