At last - a hypothesis that explains the symptoms that exposed people are reporting!
Drs Shabnam Gangi and Olle Johansson have developed a compelling hypothesis that mast cells are implicated in the allergic responses that are often experienced by people after prolonged exposure to EMR, especially from computers.
This is based on a number of observations. Firstly, people with such symptoms have a higher number of mast cells, larger mast cells and a different pattern of mast cell distribution. Secondly, mast cells release histamine, which causes symptoms such as itching and erythema, which are often reported by people exposed to EMR. Thirdly, EMR is known to affect mast cells, as Sydney’s Dr Peter French has repeatedly demonstrated.
In a recent paper, Gangi and Johansson outline a mechanism to explain this effect. They suggest that EMR may be the trigger which activates mast cells to degranulate. This could occur by EMR acting on:
- a neuropeptide,
- an allergen interacting with an immunoglobulin receptor,
- ion concentration of the cell.
When the mast cell degranulates it releases its contents, including histamine. Histamine stimulates H1 and H2 receptors at the surface of the cell causing:
- increased permeability of veins
- dilation of blood vessels
- contraction of airways
- contraction of muscle
- increased gastric acid secretion
- inhibition of immune activity.
Not only are mast cells contained in the skin, where they can produce the symptoms of itch, erythema etc, but they are contained in other systems of the body. The heart, which is known to be affected by EMR (studies show that EMR affects ECG patterns, heart rate and blood pressure) contains mast cells. Histamine is also contained in some cells in the endocrine system, the central nervous system, the blood and lymphatic vessels, and the immune system - all of which have been shown by research to be affected by EMR - and the respiratory tract.
(Gangi, S and Johansson, O, A theoretical model based upon mast cells and histamine to explain the recently proclaimed sensitivity to electric and/or magnetic fields in humans, Medical Hypotheses 54(4), pp 663-71, March 2000).
EMRAA News Sept 2000, Vol 5 No 3
About The Author - Lyn McLean is a consumer advocate, author and educator and has been monitoring and writing on the subject of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) for over 20 years. She is the director of EMR Australia.