Air Force Research Labs, Brooks Air Force Base, TX

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Air Force Research Labs, Brooks Air Force Base, TX

2004 - Radial arm maze performance of rats following repeated low level microwave radiation exposure

Cobb BL, Jauchem JR, Adair ER.

United States Air Force Research Laboratory, Human Effectiveness Directorate, Directed Energy Bioeffects Division, Radio Frequency Radiation Branch, Brooks AFB, Texas, USA. [email protected] 

We examined the possibility of changes in "working" memory of rats following whole body exposure to microwave (MW) radiation. During each of 10 days, we exposed rats within circularly polarized waveguides for 45 min to 2450 MHz fields at whole body SARs of 0.6 W/kg (2 micros pulses, 500 pps), followed by testing in a 12 arm, radial arm maze (RAM). Rats received a preexposure injection of one of three psychoactive compounds or saline, to determine whether a compound would interact with MW exposure to affect performance in the maze. Error rate, i.e., reentry into arms already visited, and time to criterion data for 10 consecutive days of testing were analyzed by a three way analysis of variance (ANOVA) using main effects of "exposure" and "drug" and a repeated factor of "test day." Our alpha limit for significance was P <.05. Analyzes of error rates revealed no significant exposure effect, no significant drug effect and no significant interaction between the two main factors. There was a significant difference in test days, as expected, with repeated test-trial days, which indicates that learning was accomplished. There was no significant interaction of test day and the other two factors. The results of our analyzes of time to criterion data included no significant exposure effect, a significant drug effect, a significant test day effect, and a significant interaction between drug and test day factors. Post hoc analyzes of the drug factor revealed that rats treated with either physostigmine or nalrexone hydrochloride, took significantly longer to complete the maze task than rats pretreated with saline or with naloxone methodide. We conclude that there is no evidence from the current study that exposure to of MW radiation under parameters examined caused decrements in the ability of rats to learn the spatial memory task.

PMID: 14696053 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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Rats, mice, birds, amphibians and other animals have been excluded from coverage by the Animal Welfare Act. Therefore research facility reports do not include these animals. As a result of this situation, a blank report, or one with few animals listed, does not mean that a facility has not performed experiments on non-reportable animals. A blank form does mean that the facility in question has not used covered animals (primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, pigs, sheep, goats, etc.). Rats and mice alone are believed to comprise over 90% of the animals used in experimentation. Therefore the majority of animals used at research facilities are not even counted.

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