A Review of the Effects of Microwave Radiation on Spatial Memory and Learning




Dockum, Allison

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Microwave radiation refers to electromagnetic waves between 300 MHz and 300 GHz. Microwaves are used in communication systems, manufacturing, medical treatments, and military operations. The ability to modify waveform parameters, such as frequency and duty cycle, contribute towards the versatility of microwave radiation. In the same way, the ability to adjust each parameter also contributes to the complexity of understanding the biological effects of microwaves. For some time, researchers have studied the microwave effects on learning and spatial memory in rodents. Rodents provide scientists with a neurologically similar model to humans, which is easy to study both on the cellular levels and to assess behaviorally due to the development of maze performance tests. However, the mechanisms disrupting spatial memory remain largely unknown because of the nearly infinite number of ways microwave can be modified, combined with the multitude of neurological effects, which could impact behavior. It is important for scientists to continue to study rodent models under various microwave exposure conditions to prevent harmful exposure conditions with humans. In this review microwave exposure conditions will be introduced, followed by an introduction to the cruciality of synaptic plasticity to spatial memory and learning. Synaptic plasticity can be impacted through various neurological mechanisms; of which the NMDAR receptors, neurotransmitter release, and activation of intracellular signaling cascades, and cell apoptosis will be reviewed.



Microwave, Synaptic plasticity, Learning