Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Chair in Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine



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BibTex format

author = {Elliott, P and Burgess, AP and fouquet, NC and Seri, S and Hawken, MB and Heard, A and Neasham, D and Little, MP},
doi = {10.1016/j.envres.2016.06.031},
journal = {Environmental Research},
pages = {461--469},
title = {Acute Exposure to Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) has effects on theelectroencephalogram and electrocardiogram, consistent with vagal nervestimulation.},
url = {},
volume = {150},
year = {2016}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - BackgroundTerrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) is a telecommunications system widely used by police and emergency services around the world. The Stewart Report on mobile telephony and health raised questions about possible health effects associated with TETRA signals. This study investigates possible effects of TETRA signals on the electroencephalogram and electrocardiogram in human volunteers.MethodsBlinded randomized provocation study with a standardized TETRA signal or sham exposure. In the first of two experiments, police officers had a TETRA set placed first against the left temple and then the upper-left quadrant of the chest and the electroencephalogram was recorded during rest and active cognitive processing. In the second experiment, volunteers were subject to chest exposure of TETRA whilst their electroencephalogram and heart rate variability derived from the electrocardiogram were recorded.ResultsIn the first experiment, we found that exposure to TETRA had consistent neurophysiological effects on the electroencephalogram, but only during chest exposure, in a pattern suggestive of vagal nerve stimulation. In the second experiment, we observed changes in heart rate variability during exposure to TETRA but the electroencephalogram effects were not replicated.ConclusionsObserved effects of exposure to TETRA signals on the electroencephalogram (first experiment) and electrocardiogram are consistent with vagal nerve stimulation in the chest by TETRA. However given the small effect on heart rate variability and the lack of consistency on the electroencephalogram, it seems unlikely that this will have a significant impact on health. Long-term monitoring of the health of the police force in relation to TETRA use is on-going.
AU - Elliott,P
AU - Burgess,AP
AU - fouquet,NC
AU - Seri,S
AU - Hawken,MB
AU - Heard,A
AU - Neasham,D
AU - Little,MP
DO - 10.1016/j.envres.2016.06.031
EP - 469
PY - 2016///
SN - 1096-0953
SP - 461
TI - Acute Exposure to Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) has effects on theelectroencephalogram and electrocardiogram, consistent with vagal nervestimulation.
T2 - Environmental Research
UR -
UR -
VL - 150
ER -