Radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation and memory performance: sources of uncertainty in epidemiological cohort studies

Christopher Brzozek, Kurt K. Benke, Berihun M. Zeleke, Michael J. Abramson, Geza Benke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Uncertainty in experimental studies of exposure to radiation from mobile phones has in the past only been framed within the context of statistical variability. It is now becoming more apparent to researchers that epistemic or reducible uncertainties can also affect the total error in results. These uncertainties are derived from a wide range of sources including human error, such as data transcription, model structure, measurement and linguistic errors in communication. The issue of epistemic uncertainty is reviewed and interpreted in the context of the MoRPhEUS, ExPOSURE and HERMES cohort studies which investigate the effect of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones on memory performance. Research into this field has found inconsistent results due to limitations from a range of epistemic sources. Potential analytic approaches are suggested based on quantification of epistemic error using Monte Carlo simulation. It is recommended that future studies investigating the relationship between radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation and memory performance pay more attention to treatment of epistemic uncertainties as well as further research into improving exposure assessment. Use of directed acyclic graphs is also encouraged to display the assumed covariate relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Article number592
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Aleatory uncertainty
  • Cognitive function
  • Epistemic uncertainty
  • Memory
  • Radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation

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