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People who feel connected to nature are more prone to “electrosensitivity”

30 March 2017

A new study in the Journal of Health Psychology sheds new light on electrosensitivity by suggesting that it is people who feel especially connected to nature – normally considered a positive trait – who may be particularly likely to suffer from electrosensitivity.

In the TV series Better Call Saul, Saul’s brother Chuck believes that electromagnetic signals from mobile phones and other devices make him seriously ill. He lives as a recluse and uses a foil blanket to protect himself. By some estimates, millions of people – around 5 per cent of the population – believe that they too suffer from “electrosensitivity” or “electromagnetic hypersensitivity”.

Though they may not suffer as much as Chuck, these individuals claim that wi-fi and other signals make them ill, triggering headaches and other symptoms.

The medical consensus based on double-blind trials (in which neither researcher nor test subject knows when a test device is real or pretend) is that while the experience of electrosensitivity-related symptoms may be real, they are not caused by electromagnetic fields.

More likely is that the symptoms arise from a “nocebebo effect” – a strong belief that the fields are harmful.

Read more on our Research Digest blog.

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