Neuroscience Letters, 417, 212–216p. (2007) DOI:10.1016/j.neulet.2007.02.046

Nonlinear EEG activation evoked by low-strength low-frequency magnetic fields

S. Carrubba, C. Frilot, A. L. Chesson Jr., A. A. Marino

Recent electrophysiological evidence suggested the existence of a human magnetic sense, but the kind of dynamical law that governed the stimulus-response relationship was not established. We tested the hypothesis that brain potentials evoked by the onset of a weak, low-frequency magnetic field were nonlinearly related to the stimulus. A field of 1G, 60Hz was applied for 2 s, with a 5 s inter-stimulus period, and brain potentials were recorded from occipital electrodes in eight subjects, each of whom were measured twice, with at least 1 week between measurements. The recorded signals were subjected to nonlinear (recurrence analysis) and linear (time averaging) analyses. Using recurrence analysis, magnetosensory evoked potentials (MEPs) were detected in each subject in both the initial and replicate studies, with one exception. All MEPs exhibited the expected latency but differed in dynamical characteristics, indicating that they were nonlinearly related to the stimulus. MEPs were not detected using time averaging, thereby further confirming their nonlinearity. Evolutionarily conditioned structures that help mediate linear field-transduction in lower life forms may be expressed and functionally utilized in humans, but in a role where they facilitate vulnerability to man-made environmental fields.

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