What is electromagnetic hypersensitivity

What is electromagnetic hypersensitivity?

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is the term used to describe unspecific symptoms - including headaches, sleep problems, malaise and concentration disorders - the cause of which those affected see in cell phone radiation or other electromagnetic fields.

What does science say

The World Health Organization (WHO) says on this subject in its Fact Sheet No. 296: “[...] For both EHS and MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) there is no apparent toxicological or physiological justification and no independent evidence. [...] Well-controlled and conducted double-blind studies have shown that the symptoms are not related to exposure to EMF. ”The WHO does not classify electromagnetic hypersensitivity as medical in the current international disease classification (ICD-10-GM-2020) Clinical picture led. In the event of complaints from electro-sensitive persons, doctors can use medical (differential) diagnostics. Doctors specializing in environmental medicine or environmental medical outpatient clinics (e.g. at the university clinics) can be consulted for a more in-depth clarification of the complaints.

Although the phenomenon has been known for years and a connection between EMF and the occurrence of symptoms has been checked in numerous studies and study results are continuously analyzed by various scientific institutions, EHS cannot be medically proven to this day.

Nocebo effect

Research also points out that the so-called nocebo effect can be responsible for the symptoms. The effect is the opposite of the well-known placebo effect: In this case, the hope of a cure (usually in connection with taking a drug) leads to an alleviation of the symptoms, even if the drug contains no active ingredients. With the nocebo effect, worrying about a negative effect (even if it does not exist) means that the person may develop symptoms, or existing symptoms become worse and / or lead to chronic loss of well-being.

Definition of terms:

In EHS, many terms are used colloquially synonymously: electrosensitivity, electromagnetic hypersensitivity and electrohypersensitivity (EHS), but also electrosensitivity. However, a precise distinction should be made:

■ Electrosensitivity generally describes the ability to sense an existing electrical, magnetic or electromagnetic field. This is measurable and secured by threshold values.

■ Electrosensitivity or electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS; electromagnetic hypersensitivity), on the other hand, means a subjective, negatively perceived increased sensitivity of a person to low-frequency and high-frequency electromagnetic fields. These people establish a connection between their “hypersensitivity” and a number of self-reported unspecific symptoms that cannot be scientifically assigned to a specific cause.

Published on: 05/12/21

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