Health – Hormone system
The body functions are controlled by hormones from the hormone system (endocrine system) which is regulated by the central nervous system. Hormones are chemical messenger and signal substances which are produced in different organs of the body and distributed by the blood. They play an important role in reproduction, growth, the metabolism and they influence the psyche and human behaviour. The left figure below shows the endocrine system of the torso/trunk, the right figure exhibits the endocrine glands in the head area. Not shown are the hormones of the reproduction system (ovary, testis, uterus, placenta).
The effect of EMFs on the hormone system and the hormone balance have been investigated in many studies, the influence of low frequency radiation on the production of melatonin being of particular interest. The melatonin hormone (sleep hormone) is produced in the pineal gland and plays (as other hormones, see figure) an important role in the day-night rhythm. Melatonin secrection is strongly tied to the dark-light rhythm. It is suspected that the nocturnal generation of melatonin is reduced by low frequency fields thus causing sleep disorders. Also suspected is that melatonin has a preventive effect on carcinogenesis and that a reduction in the level of melatonin (caused by EMFs) could favour the development of breast cancer. The suspicions could not be unequivocally proven. These connections were also investigated in respect of high frequency fields. Here too, no influence could be proven. Until now knowledge on the effects of EMFs on other hormones, e.g. stress, growth or thyroid, has been very limited. In particular, there are few studies in the high frequency area. As a result a sound assessment is not yet possible.
On the whole, the provisional conclusion is that there are only a few indications that EMFs have an influence on the hormone system that is significant to health.
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