Australian Centre for RF Bioeffects Research
An NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence
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About the ACRBR
The Australian Centre for Radiofrequency Bioeffects Research (ACRBR) is committed to building a better understanding of the biological and possible health effects of human exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF). The Centre implements a well-directed multidisciplinary research program drawing on the extensive skills, knowledge and experience of scientists from a number of Australian research institutions as well as overseas affiliates.

Opening for operation in January 2004 following a successful competitive grant process administered by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the ACRBR has established itself within the scientific, industry, government and general communities as an eminent expert body in the field of radiofrequency (RF) bioeffects. Fulfilling the key objectives of its original NHMRC grant ($2.5M over a 5-year period), the ACRBR has become the Australian hub of RF research and expertise following the research agenda set by international expert committees such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), with a focus on attracting and encouraging a new generation of RF dosimetry researchers. The ACRBR is actively involved in educational programs at undergraduate level, postgraduate level, professional courses, conferences, workshops and public presentations in relevant areas.

Serving the community and acting as an information dissemination point, the ACRBR created an annual event providing interaction between community, industry, government and academia - Science Week (2007) and Science and Wireless (2008). These public forums, featuring national and international scientific leaders, provided updates on RF science and an opportunity to discuss the relevance of this to community and industry. Funding was secured for filming, and all sessions are freely downloadable from the ACRBR website.

As well as attracting a suite of national and international research grants, ACRBR input is sought by national and international safety standards groups (Standards Australia, IEC, IEEE, ICNIRP). ACRBR members are regularly invited to present policy guidance at expert committees such as the MTHR (UK) workshop entitled "Mobile phone and children's health", US National Academy of Sciences workshop on research needs related to health effects of wireless communication devices, and a WHO regional workshop on RF protection policy

ACRBR Achievements 2004-2009

  • Extensive upskilling of national and international students at graduate and postgraduate level in dosimetry expertise, both computational modelling and physical measurements; EEG and ERP measurement and analysis procedures

  • Effect of mobile phone exposure on cognitive and other health endpoints in adolescents. Cross-sectional analysis suggests associations between mobile phone use in adolescents and response times or accuracies of some cognitive tests. Longitudinal analysis of the data is continuing

  • Novel dosimeters (designed as software and hardware modified mobile phones) implemented for accurate assessment in epidemiological studies

  • Early investigations into effect of RF on proteins suggest some effects, results are yet to be validated

  • Investigations into effects of low frequency, visible light and infra red radiation on proteins and cells with focus on therapeutic biological effects of EMR and the development of novel technologies for cancer treatment and wound healing applications (sponsor RMIT Institute for Health Innovations, Australia)

  • Epidemiology literature review examining potential links between RF and cancers (sponsor GSM Association, UK), concluding little to no evidence of causation

  • Survey of radiofrequency emissions from wireless devices in homes (sponsor Australian Mobiles Telecommunications Association, Australia)

  • Important contributions made to international safety standards on interaction between temperature and Specific Energy Absorption Rate (SAR), the metric used for standards measurements (sponsor MMF Geneva)

  • Extensive research into cognitive effects of RF in adolescents, adults and the elderly using 2G and 3G mobile phone technologies; results suggest small potential impacts on EEG-alpha and performance in certain cognitive tasks (aponsor GSM Association, UK). Dependence of effects on individuals generates difficulties in replicating results along study groups, and goes some way to explaining inconsistencies in scientific studies to date

  • Wide-ranging studies on the effects of RF on blood-brain barrier function and neural stress in adult, juvenile and foetal mice show no significant effects

  • New study underway into compliance testing for MIMO devices (sponsor MMF Brussells)

  • Rigorous input into national (Standards Australia) and international (IEC, IEEE; IEE, ICNIRP) safety standards

  • New computational model for more efficient modelling of humans for safety standard compliance

  • Investigations into the effect of RF exposure on blood-brain barrier are inconclusive. Preliminary results do not show a significant effect on blood-brain barrier

  • Development of a rhodamine-B temperature-sensitive dye for SAR mapping

  • Development of an analytical approach for the characterization of near field exposures from RF antennae

  • Development of a pregnant mouse model at 0.75 mm resolution for use to assess exposure from IMVS system

Participating Institutions

Swinburne University
PO Box 218, Hawthorn VIC 3122
University of Wollongong
Northfields Avenue, Wollongong NSW 2522
RMIT University
GPO Box 2476V, Melbourne VIC 3001
Monash University
Wellington Road, Clayton, VIC 3800
Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science
PO Box 14, Rundle St, Adelaide SA 5000
Telstra Pty Ltd
Chief Technology Office (CTO), Level 13, 242 Exhibition St, Melbourne 3000
© 2008 Australian Centre for RF Bioeffects Research
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