Steve Weller on EHS
(there is some repetition in both commentaries)
Commentary #1 (May 19, 2020)
Hi Dariusz, as you correctly state – Provocation studies are “scientifically unreliable”.
There are a whole host of issues with provocation studies particularly if they do not include any objective physiological tests. Unfortunately, there are a number of countries that are investing millions of dollars in psychological based research and not bio-medical research. Australia is one of them, with the ACEBR performing sub-optimal studies using a transmitter that is not a true representation of typical exposures. Dr David McDonald was a statistician at the CSIRO and reviewed the protocols used by Australian researchers and identified a number of statistical shortcomings – his personal opinion was that they appeared to be designed to support the null hypothesis.
Why subjective provocation studies are not the gold standard is as follows:
- Test environments in many studies are not well controlled (no shielding) leading to potential confounding from RF leakage from the environment. EHS person may also be suffering symptoms as a result of being exposed to wireless radiation on the way to the testing facility.
- Not all studies take into consideration stress and anxiety experienced by test subjects which can stimulate/exaggerate EHS symptoms. In some studies, they found that sham scenarios created increased symptoms over exposure scenarios (Wallace et al.) which would suggest that RF has a calming effect. Of course, when one looks at the funding source (Industry) one does question the reliability and trustworthiness of the study?
- We have scenarios where sham tests are not signal free (Rubin et al., Nieto-Hernandez et al.)
- Some Meta-analysis studies refactor and pool the data, which basically washes out any individual subjects who were sensitive and showing they are impacted.
- Just as some researchers are suggesting EHS being the result of a potential “nocebo effect” this has not been formally tested in any EHS studies to date and so remains speculative and an unproven hypothesis. The mechanism is also unknown.
- Often there is insufficient time for recovery before next test is conducted (not accounting for what I like to call a washout period). EHS sufferers do not react like a light switch. Turn on an RF device and instantaneously it is felt. Nor when the device is switched off is there suddenly a full recovery. Symptoms can take seconds to hours before they develop. They also can take days to abate. One could imagine that some people who may have participated in a prior exposure scenario still suffering symptoms during the sham phase. Guess what? They will say they are feeling effects.
- No accounting for other possible incitants (chemicals, odour, stress, noise, other electromagnetic frequencies or combinations of frequencies). Many people who are EHS are also sensitive to chemicals (MCS).
- Use of simulated signals rather than real devices. Continuous waves rather than pulsed signals carrying data
- Often do not include objective tests looking for somatic responses
- Use of an analogue visual scale as if we have the ability to provide a analogue assessment of our wellbeing.
- No consideration for memory recall issues – particularly with respect to rating pain.
- One that I know you like to say often – There is often a lack of formal screening process to identify true EHS people – i.e. many researchers advertise in a newspaper for test subjects.
There is a clear need to invest in some serious, good science. If we don’t, then the continued misuse of science by vested interest will inflict avoidable damage on millions of EHS sufferer’s around the world, “by promoting ineffectual and possibly harmful treatments and by feeding the idea that the illness is largely psychological.”
Commentary #2 (May 21, 2020)
Dariusz, I think it is important that there is more bio-medical community involvement on this issue. The research on EHS today is dominated by psychologists, many of whom are influenced/funded by industry – especially in Australia, This includes the new chair of ICNIRP.
When one has symptoms that impairs health and well being, whom does one go an see? A medical doctor or a psychologist? A medical doctor is qualified to make a health diagnosis. If a medical doctor feels that after excluding all other possibilities it is a mental issue, they can direct the patient for psychological assessment. Of course, when one reviews research papers in the ORSAA database one finds that studies performed by bio-medically qualified researchers predominately find a link between exposure and symptoms. While those performed by psychologist do not – with the Nocebo effect being hypothesized by this group as the likely cause. Notwithstanding the fact that nocebo cannot explain how many EHS people are initially unaware of the cause when symptoms first develop and have had no preconceived ideas about wireless safety.
What is missing in many provocation studies is the tracking of individual symptoms from development to full regression. ideally sham, or exposure, should not commence until subject is symptom free. Otherwise existing symptoms will confound the results.
Many provocation tests confuse EMF sensitivity i.e. reacting to a signal or signals and developing symptoms, which can be delayed, with EMF sensing i.e being able to sense when the field is active and when it is not. Because most individuals who are EHS cannot reliably determine whether a field is active or not does not mean they are not sensitive to EMF – symptom development as demonstrated by McCarty et al., 2011.
Of course it may require a battery of individually tailored tests to be conducted because of variability between reactivity to signals (as shown in lymphocyte exposure to EMF) a single test protocol for all EHS people maybe highly inappropriate.
Some tests that can be considered in conjunction with provocation to a real functioning wireless device (something that the subject claims they are sensitive too) include:
ECG – there is a youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIobFr3m8kk) showing how an EHS persons heart reacts (in a blinded situation) to a smartmeter signal compared to a healthy normal individual.
- EEG – Do we see a difference in brainwave activity in EHS people compared to Health people?
- fMRI – research suggests EHS people brains do have functional differences compared to healthy people
- Neurotransmitter profiling
- Urinary Pyrrole Test
- C-nerve fibre reactivity as performed by Dr Hocking (MD)
- Genetic screening and Blood Redox – De Luca (2014)