A 2017 study published in the Journal of Neo-Natal Medicine has found that high levels of EMFs in Incubators used for pre-term infants could be adversely affecting the health of the infants and, in some cases, possibly contributing to their death.
Pre-term infants are vulnerable to their environments, as their systems are not yet fully formed. While aspects of sanitation and temperature regulation has always been a top priority when dealing with pre-term infants, electromagnetic field exposure was never a consideration - until now.
Taking measurements of EMF fields within Incubators, researchers found levels to be high enough to be a concern for both the baby in the Incubator as well as the caregiver spending time near the Incubator.
The Incubator environment is regulated via an electric engine located beneath the mattress. This design puts the baby directly above that electrical engine, keeping the baby within an EMF field 24/7.
Research on the effects of EMFs on newborns have found that the heart and the autonomic nervous system becomes disrupted and/or stressed when exposed to these man-made electromagnetic fields.
In addition, exposure to these EMF fields has been shown to disrupt melatonin production in the newborn, as well as decrease vagal tone. Melatonin is an important hormone secreted by the pineal gland and is said to protect from cancer as well as acting as a super-antioxidant in the body. It is very likely this hormone plays an even more important role in the first several months of life that science is not yet aware of.
The vagus nerve is the main nerve for the parasympathetic nervous system, the division of our nervous system which regulates actions that are not under our conscious control. A decrease in tone of the vagus nerve results in less effective bodily functions such as digestion as well as urination and defecation. Any disruptions with these bodily functions in a newborn can be life-threatening.
The additional stress of being exposed to electromagnetic fields can determine whether a vulnerable pre-term baby will live or die, which is why researchers are urging hospitals to find a way to lower EMF fields within Incubators.
"A precautionary approach should be adopted in future incubator design, to prevent high [EMF] exposures of newborns in incubators and of caregivers as well.”
According to the Journal article, lowering the amount of EMFs newborns are exposed to in Incubators"...may improve resilience to stress and lower the risk of neonatal morbidity in preterm infants.”
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