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Killer monitors – the facts

We dig beneath the surface and bring you some in-your-face science stuff

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Given yesterday's brouhaha over the possible health risks from monitors, The Register called upon its in-house scientist, Lucy Sherriff, to dig beneath the spin and examine the scientific evidence. Monitors produce low frequency magnetic fields and these, in turn, induce electric currents. This is an established fact. These small currents can also be induced in the human body. This too is known and widely accepted by the scientific community. What is not known is whether this has any effect on people, and if it does, what that effect might be. The research carried out on behalf of Tecno Ao indicated that prolonged exposure to monitors can influence the body's immune system by altering the production of brainwaves. John Jukes, a statistician associated with the project says that some healing effects have been reported after short term exposure to low frequency magnetic fields, such as accelerated healing of bone fractures. This he says is because the field stimulates something in the body, and in small doses this can be a good thing. Researchers at Reading University hypothesised that this stimulation could, in larger doses, actually cause harm to those exposed to it. Brainwaves range in frequency from 3Hz to 30Hz, peaking during the day at around 19Hz. When you sit in front of a computer screen for too long, your brain waves shift up in frequency. Alpha brainwaves occur at 12Hz and this is the frequency which triggers repair mechanisms in the body. The theory behind Tecno Ao's device is that constant stimulation from magnetic fields can prevent the body from producing enough Alpha brainwaves, causing a generally weakened immune system. So prolonged use of a monitor may lead you to suffer from a wide range of minor ailments such as back pain, stuffed up noses, feeling miserable, itchy eyes and so on. The Tecno Ao device contains a super-saturated crystalline solution which can be tuned to resonate at a particular frequency. In this case, it is tuned to 12Hz, and the solution reacts to the magnetic fields the same way as the human body does, and resonates at 12HZ, stimulating Alpha wave responses in the person sitting near the device. ®

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