Smart devices/mobile phone in patients with epilepsy? A systematic review

We systematically reviewed the existing literature on the safety of the use of smartphone, mobile phone/Internet, and Wi-Fi by people with epilepsy (PWE), according to the recommendations of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. Scopus, MEDLINE, and Google Scholar from the inception to April 9, 2021 were searched. These key words were used “epilepsy” OR “seizure” AND “Mobile Phone” OR “Cell Phone” OR “Smartphone” OR “Wi-Fi” OR “Electromagnetic” OR “Radiation.” The primary search yielded 7766 studies; 33 studies were related. In total, 19 manuscripts were based on animal/computational studies and 14 articles reported human investigations. Among animal studies, 10 articles suggested detrimental effects by electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on brain function/seizure activity, while nine studies negated this hypothesis. Among human studies, seven studies suggested detrimental effects by EMFs on brain function/seizure activity, while seven studies negated this hypothesis. None of the studies provided a good level of evidence. In one human study, all seven patients with epilepsy and abnormal EEG during the sham exposure, had an increase in the number of epileptic events with exposure to mobile phone radiation. In another study of the detrimental effects of smart technology device overuse among school students, an association was found between reporting seizures and the hours of smart technology device use. While high-quality evidence on the safety of the use of smartphone, mobile phone/Internet, and Wi-Fi in PWE is lacking, prudent use of these technologies, including using wired hand-free sets or other exposure-reducing measures is recommended.

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