Experiments from our laboratory have shown that the postnatal environment can have a significant impact on health and development in preterm neonates by disrupting various neurovegetative functions such as sleep and autonomic nervous system activity.
The massive use of highly technological devices in Neonatal Intensive Care Units may expose preterm neonates to ElectroMagnetic Fields (EMF), especially radiofrequencies, at low doses but continuously and chronically. This situation could be particularly hazardous as we have shown in previous studies that exposure to radiofrequencies may alter electrical activity and skin microcirculation at the cerebral level in adult human, and may disrupt sleep and thermoregulation in young animals. Other studies have shown that acute exposure to low-frequency EMF produced by incubators may alter melatonin production and autonomic nervous system activity in preterm neonates.
To the best of our knowledge, the effects of a long-term exposure to radiofrequency-EMF on the neurophysiological development of preterm neonates have never been studied till today, whereas children (and therefore preterm neonates even more) could be particularly vulnerable due to a deeper penetration of radiofrequency waves in cerebral masses during a crucial neurodevelopmental period.
This project aims to answer various objectives which will be scheduled as follows:
– To evaluate EMF levels, particularly radiofrequencies, found in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in order to map the distribution of radiofrequency fields;
– To quantify individual levels of chronic exposure (6 weeks) to which preterm neonates are subjected during their stay in the unit;
– To follow the evolution of the thermal environment (incubator and body temperatures) and of the clinical parameters of the neonates after after birth (weight gain …);
– To record and analyse various neurophysiological parameters (sleep, cerebral hemodynamics, autonomic nervous activity) at 3 and 6 weeks of life, in order to determine whether they are correlated to the levels of chronic radiofrequency-EMF exposure.
Since functional investigations in preterm neonates represent the largest part of this thesis project, the candidate will be required to have good knowledge in human integrated neurophysiology, as well as skills in usual electrophysiological methods (EEG, ECG, NI‘S…).
As this thesis will be part of a larger partnership, in particular with a medical unit, good personal investment, organisation and teamwork skills are expected in order to ensure an effective recruitment and good communication between the different teams.
Knowledge or experience in the field of biophysics would be a definite advantage to better analyse the effects of EMF on children’s health.
– Thesis supervisors: Erwan STÉPHAN-BLANCHARD, PhD, PériTox laboratory, firstname.lastname@example.org – Brahim SELMAOUI, Researcher, INERIS, email@example.com
– Partnership: PériTox UMR-I-01 laboratory (UPJV, Amiens) – TOXI team (INERIS, Verneuil-en-Halatte) – Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (CHU Amiens-Picardie)
– Location: PériTox UMR-I-01 laboratory, UPJV, Amiens, France (https://peritox.u-picardie.fr/)
– Duration: Beginning December 2017 – January 2018 for 3 years
– Funding: Doctoral contract with registration at UPJV’s Doctoral School (EDSTS 585).
Scholarship from the Frenc ‘Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement
et du travail’ (ANSES).
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