Issue 11 of The NZ Journal of Natural Medicine features an article by Dr Martha Herbert, PhD, MD.  Dr Herbert is an assistant professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and works as a paediatric neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Dr Herbert’s article “Is EMR another cause of autism?” summarises the evidence of how exposure to electromagnetic radiation may be contributing to the large increase in the numbers of children developing this distressing condition.  More information about Dr Herbert and her work may be found at:: and


Due to the large number of references for Dr Herbert’s article, they have been posted on this website, rather than being printed in issue 11.  References for her article are below:




1.            Herbert M. Time to Get a Grip. Autism Advocate 2006;45:19-26

2.            Milham S. Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization:; 2010.

3.            Rapin I, Katzman R. Neurobiology of autism. Ann Neurol 1998;43:7-14.

4.            Herbert MR, Sage C. Autism and EMF? Plausibility of a Pathophysiological Link, Parts I and II. Pathophysiology In press.

5.            Hertz-Picciotto I, Delwiche L. The rise in autism and the role of age at diagnosis. Epidemiology 2009;20:84-90.

6.            King M, Bearman P. Diagnostic change and the increased prevalence of autism. Int J Epidemiol 2009;38:1224-34.

7.            Grether JK, Rosen NJ, Smith KS, Croen LA. Investigation of shifts in autism reporting in the California Department of Developmental Services. J Autism Dev Disord 2009;39:1412-9.

8.            Herbert MR, Weintraub K. The Autism Revolution: Whole Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be. New York, NY: Random House with Harvard Health Publications; 2012.

9.            Autism WHY and HOW. 2012. at

10.          Herbert MR. Autism: The centrality of active pathophysiology and the shift from static to chronic dynamic encephalopathy: Taylor & Francis / CRC Press; 2009.

11.          Herbert M. Autism: From Static Genetic Brain Defect to Dynamic Gene‐Environment Modulated Pathophysiology. In: Krimsky S, Gruber J, eds. Genetic Explanations: Sense and Nonsense. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 2013:122-46.

12.          Herbert MR. Contributions of the environment and environmentally vulnerable physiology to autism spectrum disorders. Curr Opin Neurol 2010;23:103-10.

13.          Just MA, Cherkassky VL, Keller TA, Minshew NJ. Cortical activation and synchronization during sentence comprehension in high-functioning autism: evidence of underconnectivity. Brain 2004;127:1811-21.

14.          Muller RA, Shih P, Keehn B, Deyoe JR, Leyden KM, Shukla DK. Underconnected, but how? A survey of functional connectivity MRI studies in autism spectrum disorders. Cereb Cortex 2011;21:2233-43.

15.          Wass S. Distortions and disconnections: disrupted brain connectivity in autism. Brain Cogn 2011;75:18-28.

16.          Buzsaki G. Rhythms of the Brain. New York: Oxford University Press; 2006.

17.          Lobikin M, Chernet B, Lobo D, Levin M. Resting potential, oncogene-induced tumorigenesis, and metastasis: the bioelectric basis of cancer in vivo. Phys Biol 2012;epub:epub.

18.          Herbert MR, Sage C. Findings in Autism Spectrum Disorders consistent with Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMF) and Radiofrequency Radiation (RFR). In: Sage C, Carpenter DO, eds. BioInitiative Update:; 2012.

19.          Blank M, ed. Electromagnetic  Fields2009.

20.          Blank M. Evidence for Stress Response (Stress Proteins) (Section 7)2012.

21.          Evers M, Cunningham-Rundles C, Hollander E. Heat shock protein 90 antibodies in autism. Mol Psychiatry 2002;7 Suppl 2:S26-8.

22.          Desai NR, Kesari KK, Agarwal A. Pathophysiology of cell phone radiation: oxidative stress and carcinogenesis with focus on male reproductive system. Reprod Biol Endocrinol 2009;7:114.

23.          Phelan AM, Lange DG, Kues HA, Lutty GA. Modification of membrane fluidity in melanin-containing cells by low-level microwave radiation. Bioelectromagnetics 1992;13:131-46.

24.          Beneduci A, Filippelli L, Cosentino K, Calabrese ML, Massa R, Chidichimo G. Microwave induced shift of the main phase transition in phosphatidylcholine membranes. Bioelectrochemistry 2012;84:18-24.

25.          El-Ansary A, Al-Ayadhi L. Lipid mediators in plasma of autism spectrum disorders. Lipids Health Dis 2012;11:160.

26.          El-Ansary AK, Bacha AG, Al-Ayahdi LY. Plasma fatty acids as diagnostic markers in autistic patients from Saudi Arabia. Lipids Health Dis 2011;10:62.

27.          Chauhan A, Chauhan V, Brown WT, Cohen I. Oxidative stress in autism: increased lipid peroxidation and reduced serum levels of ceruloplasmin and transferrin–the antioxidant proteins. Life Sci 2004;75:2539-49.

28.          Pecorelli A, Leoncini S, De Felice C, et al. Non-protein-bound iron and 4-hydroxynonenal protein adducts in classic autism. Brain Dev 2012:epub.

29.          Ming X, Stein TP, Brimacombe M, Johnson WG, Lambert GH, Wagner GC. Increased excretion of a lipid peroxidation biomarker in autism. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2005;73:379-84.

30.          Yao Y, Walsh WJ, McGinnis WR, Pratico D. Altered vascular phenotype in autism: correlation with oxidative stress. Arch Neurol 2006;63:1161-4.

31.          Salford LG, Nittby H, Persson BR. Effects of EMF from Wireless Communication Upon the Blood-Brain Barrier2012.

32.          Pall ML. Electromagnetic fields act via activation of voltage-gated calcium channels to produce beneficial or adverse effects. J Cell Mol Med 2013.

33.          Nesin V, Bowman AM, Xiao S, Pakhomov AG. Cell permeabilization and inhibition of voltage-gated Ca(2+) and Na(+) channel currents by nanosecond pulsed electric field. Bioelectromagnetics 2012;33:394-404.

34.          Maskey D, Kim HJ, Kim HG, Kim MJ. Calcium-binding proteins and GFAP immunoreactivity alterations in murine hippocampus after 1 month of exposure to 835 MHz radiofrequency at SAR values of 1.6 and 4.0 W/kg. Neurosci Lett 2012;506:292-6.

35.          Maskey D, Kim M, Aryal B, et al. Effect of 835 MHz radiofrequency radiation exposure on calcium binding proteins in the hippocampus of the mouse brain. Brain Res 2010;1313:232-41.

36.          Kittel A, Siklos L, Thuroczy G, Somosy Z. Qualitative enzyme histochemistry and microanalysis reveals changes in ultrastructural distribution of calcium and calcium-activated ATPases after microwave irradiation of the medial habenula. Acta Neuropathol 1996;92:362-8.

37.          Dutta SK, Das K, Ghosh B, Blackman CF. Dose dependence of acetylcholinesterase activity in neuroblastoma cells exposed to modulated radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation. Bioelectromagnetics 1992;13:317-22.

38.          Palmieri L, Persico AM. Mitochondrial dysfunction in autism spectrum disorders: cause or effect? Biochim Biophys Acta 2010;1797:1130-7.

39.          Peng TI, Jou MJ. Oxidative stress caused by mitochondrial calcium overload. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2010;1201:183-8.

40.          Pessah IN, Lein PJ. Evidence for Environmental Susceptibility in Autism: What We Need to Know About Gene x Environment Interactions: Humana; 2008.

41.          Stamou M, Streifel KM, Goines PE, Lein PJ. Neuronal connectivity as a convergent target of gene-environment interactions that confer risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Neurotoxicol Teratol 2012.

42.          Bachmann M, Lass J, Kalda J, et al. Integration of differences in EEG analysis reveals changes in human EEG caused by microwave. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2006;1:1597-600.

43.          Marino AA, Nilsen E, Frilot C. Nonlinear changes in brain electrical activity due to cell phone radiation. Bioelectromagnetics 2003;24:339-46.

44.          Marino AA, Carrubba S. The effects of mobile-phone electromagnetic fields on brain electrical activity: a critical analysis of the literature. Electromagn Biol Med 2009;28:250-74.

45.          Vecchio F, Babiloni C, Ferreri F, et al. Mobile phone emission modulates interhemispheric functional coupling of EEG alpha rhythms. Eur J Neurosci 2007;25:1908-13.

46.          Hountala CD, Maganioti AE, Papageorgiou CC, et al. The spectral power coherence of the EEG under different EMF conditions. Neurosci Lett 2008;441:188-92.

47.          Duffy FH, Als H. A stable pattern of EEG spectral coherence distinguishes children with autism from neuro-typical controls – a large case control study. BMC Med 2012;10:64.

48.          Isler JR, Martien KM, Grieve PG, Stark RI, Herbert MR. Reduced functional connectivity in visual evoked potentials in children with autism spectrum disorder. Clin Neurophysiol 2010.

49.          Murias M, Swanson JM, Srinivasan R. Functional connectivity of frontal cortex in healthy and ADHD children reflected in EEG coherence. Cereb Cortex 2007;17:1788-99.

50.          Murias M, Webb SJ, Greenson J, Dawson G. Resting state cortical connectivity reflected in EEG coherence in individuals with autism. Biol Psychiatry 2007;62:270-3.

51.          Coben R, Clarke AR, Hudspeth W, Barry RJ. EEG power and coherence in autistic spectrum disorder. Clin Neurophysiol 2008;119:1002-9.

52.          Rossignol DA, Frye RE. Melatonin in autism spectrum disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Dev Med Child Neurol 2011;53:783-92.

53.          Buckley AW, Rodriguez AJ, Jennison K, et al. Rapid eye movement sleep percentage in children with autism compared with children with developmental delay and typical development. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2010;164:1032-7.

54.          Giannotti F, Cortesi F, Cerquiglini A, Vagnoni C, Valente D. Sleep in children with autism with and without autistic regression. J Sleep Res 2011;20:338-47.

55.          Johansson O. Disturbance of the immune system by electromagnetic fields-A potentially underlying cause for cellular damage and tissue repair reduction which could lead to disease and impairment. Pathophysiology 2009;16:157-77.

56.          Johannson O. Evidence for Effects on Immune Function 2007.

57.          Bilbo SD, Jones JP, Parker W. Is autism a member of a family of diseases resulting from genetic/cultural mismatches? Implications for treatment and prevention. Autism Res Treat 2012;2012:910946.

58.          Persico AM, Van de Water J, Pardo CA. Autism: where genetics meets the immune system. Autism Res Treat 2012;2012:486359.

59.          Kong SW, Collins CD, Shimizu-Motohashi Y, et al. Characteristics and predictive value of blood transcriptome signature in males with autism spectrum disorders. PLoS One 2012;7:e49475.

60.          Waly MI, Hornig M, Trivedi M, et al. Prenatal and Postnatal Epigenetic Programming: Implications for GI, Immune, and Neuronal Function in Autism. Autism Res Treat 2012;2012:190930.

61.          Lintas C, Sacco R, Persico AM. Genome-wide expression studies in autism spectrum disorder, Rett syndrome, and Down syndrome. Neurobiol Dis 2012;45:57-68.

62.          Andrzejak R, Poreba R, Poreba M, et al. The influence of the call with a mobile phone on heart rate variability parameters in healthy volunteers. Ind Health 2008;46:409-17.

63.          Szmigielski S, Bortkiewicz A, Gadzicka E, Zmyslony M, Kubacki R. Alteration of diurnal rhythms of blood pressure and heart rate to workers exposed to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Blood Press Monit 1998;3:323-30.

64.          Bortkiewicz A, Gadzicka E, Zmyslony M, Szymczak W. Neurovegetative disturbances in workers exposed to 50 Hz electromagnetic fields. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2006;19:53-60.

65.          Graham C, Cook MR, Sastre A, Gerkovich MM, Kavet R. Cardiac autonomic control mechanisms in power-frequency magnetic fields: a multistudy analysis. Environ Health Perspect 2000;108:737-42.

66.          Saunders RD, Jefferys JG. A neurobiological basis for ELF guidelines. Health Phys 2007;92:596-603.

67.          Buchner K, Eger H. Changes of Clinically Important Neurotransmitters under the Influence of Modulated RF Fields—A Long-term Study under Real-life Conditions (translated; original study in German). Umwelt-Medizin-Gesellschaft 2011;24:44-57.

68.          Bellieni CV, Acampa M, Maffei M, et al. Electromagnetic fields produced by incubators influence heart rate variability in newborns. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2008;93:F298-301.

69.          Narayanan A, White CA, Saklayen S, et al. Effect of propranolol on functional connectivity in autism spectrum disorder–a pilot study. Brain Imaging Behav 2010;4:189-97.

70.          Anderson CJ, Colombo J. Larger tonic pupil size in young children with autism spectrum disorder. Dev Psychobiol 2009;51:207-11.

71.          Anderson CJ, Colombo J, Unruh KE. Pupil and salivary indicators of autonomic dysfunction in autism spectrum disorder. Dev Psychobiol 2012.

72.          Daluwatte C, Miles JH, Christ SE, Beversdorf DQ, Takahashi TN, Yao G. Atypical Pupillary Light Reflex and Heart Rate Variability in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 2012.

73.          Ming X, Bain JM, Smith D, Brimacombe M, Gold von-Simson G, Axelrod FB. Assessing autonomic dysfunction symptoms in children: a pilot study. J Child Neurol 2011;26:420-7.

74.          Hirstein W, Iversen P, Ramachandran VS. Autonomic responses of autistic children to people and objects. Proc Biol Sci 2001;268:1883-8.

75.          Toichi M, Kamio Y. Paradoxical autonomic response to mental tasks in autism. J Autism Dev Disord 2003;33:417-26.

76.          Ming X, Julu PO, Brimacombe M, Connor S, Daniels ML. Reduced cardiac parasympathetic activity in children with autism. Brain Dev 2005;27:509-16.

77.          Mathewson KJ, Drmic IE, Jetha MK, et al. Behavioral and cardiac responses to emotional stroop in adults with autism spectrum disorders: influence of medication. Autism Res 2011;4:98-108.

78.          Cheshire WP. Highlights in clinical autonomic neuroscience: New insights into autonomic dysfunction in autism. Auton Neurosci 2012;171:4-7.

79.          Chang MC, Parham LD, Blanche EI, et al. Autonomic and behavioral responses of children with autism to auditory stimuli. Am J Occup Ther 2012;66:567-76.

80.          Kesari KK, Kumar S, Behari J. 900-MHz microwave radiation promotes oxidation in rat brain. Electromagn Biol Med 2011;30:219-34.

81.          Oktem F, Ozguner F, Mollaoglu H, Koyu A, Uz E. Oxidative damage in the kidney induced by 900-MHz-emitted mobile phone: protection by melatonin. Arch Med Res 2005;36:350-5.

82.          Lai H, Singh NP. Melatonin and a spin-trap compound block radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation-induced DNA strand breaks in rat brain cells. Bioelectromagnetics 1997;18:446-54.

83.          Xu S, Zhou Z, Zhang L, et al. Exposure to 1800 MHz radiofrequency radiation induces oxidative damage to mitochondrial DNA in primary cultured neurons. Brain Res 2010;1311:189-96.

84.          Lee DH, Jacobs DR, Jr., Porta M. Hypothesis: a unifying mechanism for nutrition and chemicals as lifelong modulators of DNA hypomethylation. Environ Health Perspect 2009;117:1799-802.

85.          Bellieni CV, Tei M, Iacoponi F, et al. Is newborn melatonin production influenced by magnetic fields produced by incubators? Early Hum Dev 2012;88:707-10.

86.          Bellieni CV, Pinto I, Bogi A, Zoppetti N, Andreuccetti D, Buonocore G. Exposure to electromagnetic fields from laptop use of “laptop” computers. Arch Environ Occup Health 2012;67:31-6.

87.          Agarwal A, Deepinder F, Sharma RK, Ranga G, Li J. Effect of cell phone usage on semen analysis in men attending infertility clinic: an observational study. Fertil Steril 2008;89:124-8.

88.          Agarwal A, Desai NR, Makker K, et al. Effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic waves (RF-EMW) from cellular phones on human ejaculated semen: an in vitro pilot study. Fertil Steril 2009;92:1318-25.

89.          Wdowiak A, Wdowiak L, Wiktor H. Evaluation of the effect of using mobile phones on male fertility. Ann Agric Environ Med 2007;14:169-72.

90.          De Iuliis GN, Newey RJ, King BV, Aitken RJ. Mobile phone radiation induces reactive oxygen species production and DNA damage in human spermatozoa in vitro. PLoS One 2009;4:e6446.

91.          Fejes I, Zavaczki Z, Szollosi J, et al. Is there a relationship between cell phone use and semen quality? Arch Androl 2005;51:385-93.

92.          Aitken RJ, Bennetts LE, Sawyer D, Wiklendt AM, King BV. Impact of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation on DNA integrity in the male germline. Int J Androl 2005;28:171-9.


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