Inter-individual variations in electric fields induced in the brain by exposure to uniform magnetic fields at 50 Hz

Marco Soldati*, Takenobu Murakami, Ilkka Laakso

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standard establish safety limits for human exposure to electromagnetic fields. At low frequencies, only a limited number of computational body models or simplified geometrical shapes are used to relate the internal induced electric fields and the external magnetic fields. As a consequence, both standard/guidelines derive the exposure reference levels for the external magnetic field without considering the variability between individuals. Here we provide quantitative data on the variation of the maximum electric field strengths induced in the brain of 118 individuals when exposed to uniform magnetic fields at 50 Hz. We found that individual characteristics, such as age and skull volume, as well as incident magnetic field direction, have a systematic effect on the peak electric field values. Older individuals show higher induced electric field strengths, possibly due to age-related anatomical changes in brain. Peak electric field strengths are found to increase for larger skull volumes, as well as for incident magnetic fields directed along the lateral direction. Moreover, the maximum electric fields provided by the anatomical models used by ICNIRP for deriving exposure limits are considerably higher than those obtained here. On the contrary, the IEEE elliptical exposure model produces a weaker peak electric field strength. Our findings are useful for the revision and harmonization of the current exposure standard and guidelines. The present investigation reduces the dosimetric uncertainty of the induced electric field among different anatomical induction models. The obtained results can be used as a basis for the selection of appropriate reduction factors when deriving exposure reference levels for human protection to low-frequency electromagnetic exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number215006
Number of pages12
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • (Exposure) reference levels
  • Basic restrictions
  • Dosimetric reference limits
  • IEEE
  • Low-frequency exposure
  • Uniform magnetic field exposure

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