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Influence of static magnetic fields on emotional and cognitive behaviour

  • Within a research project the development of emotional and cognitive behaviour in young male and female mice regularly exposed to magnetic fields of 7 Tesla during their whole embryonic development were investigated.
  • This did not result in behavioural abnormalities or differences in emotional behaviour (anxiety, depression) or cognitive behaviour (working memory, long-term memory) in the young adult age.

Maus im T-förmigen Labyrinth Maus LabyrinthMouse in a T-maze Source: ZI Mannheim

The research project "Effects of repeated exposures to strong static magnetic fields from MRI during embryonic development on cognitive and emotional behaviour in mice." ("Auswirkungen wiederholter Exposition mit starken statischen Magnetfeldern des MRT während der Embryonalentwicklung auf kognitives und emotionales Verhalten bei Mäusen") was carried out between 2008 and 2011 at the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany. It was linked to the study on reproduction and development, focussing on the development of emotional and cognitive behaviour (anxiety, learning ability) in male and female young animals exposed during their embryonic development.

Studies in rodents enable to systematically examine both acute and long-term effects of exposure to magnetic fields. Particularly behavioural analyses may help detect even subtle effects of exposure to magnetic fields on the developing brain. This study focussed on the behaviour of young adult mice exposed to a static magnetic field of seven Tesla flux density during the entire period of their embryonic development for 75 minutes a day.

In numerous standardised behavioural tests for both emotional behaviour (anxiety, depression) and learning or memory, no behavioural alterations could be detected as a function of exposure. In contrast, gender-specific differences were found. This indicates high sensitivity of the tests which also permit to establish even slight differences. The results show that development of behaviour and learning ability in the young animals exposed during embryonic development was normal and the slight delay in physical development, as observed in the project on reproduction, had no further negative influence.

Although results from animal experiments cannot be completely transferred to man, the results suggest that MRI examination of pregnant patients does not affect healthy development of their children.

Summary

Exposure of mice to a magnetic field of seven Tesla per day over the total period of their embryonic development did not result in behavioural abnormalities or differences in emotional behaviour (anxiety, depression) or cognitive behaviour (working memory, long-term memory) in the young adult age.

State of 2017.08.17

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