The Link Between EMF and Autism? A Conversation with Cindy Sage and Martha Herbert

December 10, 2013
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

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The CHE EMF Working group was pleased to host this call featuring Cindy Sage and Dr. Martha Herbert. On this call, Cindy Sage provided a quick overview of the BioInitiative 2012 Report, including an overview of the critical new chapters including: fertility/reproduction, fetal and neonatal effects, blood-brain barrier and autism. The majority of the call, however, focused on a discussion about the possible links between autism and EMF, based on the recently published two-part paper, entitled Autism and EMF? Plausibility of a pathophysiological link—Part 1 and Part 2. Ms. Sage and Dr. Herbert discussed current findings on brain oxidative stress and inflammation, free radical damage, cellular stress proteins, mitochondrial dysfunction and deficiencies of antioxidants such as glutathione, elevated intracellular calcium and blood-brain barrier and brain-perfusion compromise. They also presented on current findings of disruption of electromagnetic signaling, synchrony and sensory processing, alterations of electrophysiological oscillatory synchronization and immune system dysregulation.

Featured Speakers

Cindy Sage is an environmental consultant and public policy researcher specializing in EMF issues since 1982. She has provided professional consulting services to cities, counties, states and a national EMF policy group on the issue of EMF policy and prudent avoidance. Ms. Sage has numerous publications and invited presentations in the areas of EMF public policy, public perception, land use planning and computer modeling of EMF, real property impacts from transmission lines, and remediation of high field environments.

Dr. Martha Herbert, MD, is an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, a pediatric neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and an affiliate of the Harvard-MIT-MGH Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, where she is director of the TRANSCEND Research Program (Treatment Research and Neuroscience Evaluation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders). Her main research interests are in addressing autism as a “dynamic encephalopathy” (something that can change) rather than a “static encephalopathy” (something that is fixed for life) and in how environmental vulnerability affects brain and body health and function.

The call was moderated by Antoinette Stein, coordinator of the CHE EMF Working Group. Michael Lerner, president of Commonweal, provided opening remarks.