The research program supported by the UTIC is investigating human neurophysiological responses to power frequency magnetic fields (50 Hz in Europe and 60 Hz in North America) in the millitesla (mT) range. To date, this overall scientific program consists in three consecutive Phases of projects conducted since 2005 in the Human Threshold Research Facility located in London, Ontario, Canada.
In its Phase 1 (2005-2008), this research aimed to study the impact of a 1.8 mT magnetic field exposure on the human cardio-vascular system and on the performance in specific motor tasks.
In the Phase 2 (2008-2011) of this program, the cognitive performance of human volunteers exposed to a 3 mT magnetic field was explored. This study also investigated the impact of this magnetic field exposure on human brain activity as measured using functional Magnetic Brain Imaging (fMRI).
In the Phase 3 (2011-2015), the thresholds for systematic acute human responses to magnetic field exposures of up to 50 mT at power frequencies are investigated in a large experimental study involving volunteers. This project is focusing on selected sensitive neurophysiological markers such as magnetophopshene perception and electroencephalographic responses (EEG).
In Phase 4 (2015-2019), the frequency response regarding the threshold for magnetophosphene perception is investigated under exposure levels up to 100 mT between 0 and 300 Hz. The question of the increase of this perception threshold as we adapt to the darkness is also tackled. In addition, the acute response of the human vestibular system to the same stimuli is also studied through the analysis of standing balance modulations and of other indicators of vestibular performance (e.g. the subjective visual vertical).