Temperature elevation in the human brain and skin with thermoregulation during exposure to RF energy

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Abstract

Background: Two international guidelines/standards for human protection from electromagnetic fields define the specific absorption rate (SAR) averaged over 10 g of tissue as a metric for protection against localized radio frequency field exposure due to portable devices operating below 3-10 GHz. Temperature elevation is suggested to be a dominant effect for exposure at frequencies higher than 100 kHz. No previous studies have evaluated temperature elevation in the human head for local exposure considering thermoregulation. This study aims to discuss the temperature elevation in a human head model considering vasodilation, to discuss the conservativeness of the current limit. Methods: This study computes the temperature elevations in an anatomical human head model exposed to radiation from a dipole antenna and truncated plane waves at 300 MHz-10GHz. The SARs in the human model are first computed using a finite-difference time-domain method. The temperature elevation is calculated by solving the bioheat transfer equation by considering the thermoregulation that simulates the vasodilation. Results: The maximum temperature elevation in the brain appeared around its periphery. At exposures with higher intensity, the temperature elevation became larger and reached around 40 °C at the peak SAR of 100 W/kg, and became lower at higher frequencies. The temperature elevation in the brain at the current limit of 10 W/kg is at most 0.93 °C. The effect of vasodilation became notable for tissue temperature elevations higher than 1-2 °C and for an SAR of 10 W/kg. The temperature at the periphery was below the basal brain temperature (37 °C). Conclusions: The temperature elevation under the current guideline for occupational exposure is within the ranges of brain temperature variability for environmental changes in daily life. The effect of vasodilation is significant, especially at higher frequencies where skin temperature elevation is dominant.

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Kodera, S., Gomez-Tames, J., & Hirata, A. (2018). Temperature elevation in the human brain and skin with thermoregulation during exposure to RF energy. BioMedical Engineering Online, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12938-017-0432-x

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