The Disease of “Modern” Civilization . . . Neurasthenia

Dr. Magda Havas, Ph.D

At the turn of the 20th century a mysterious illness emerged. The first people to be affected by it were the telegraph line installers and the telephone switch board operators. The symptoms of the illness included: nerve disorders, hence the name neurasthenia or nervous asthenia, depression, extreme anxiety, exhaustion, convulsions, unconsciousness, rashes, and a whole host of other malaise.

The afflictions became so bad that in 1907, the Bell telephone switchboard operators in Toronto went on strike. They demanded much shorter working hours and better working conditions.

In the 1950s with the invention of microwave frequencies, radar operators started suffering with similar symptoms that they called radio wave or microwave illness.

Now at the turn of the 21st century with the introduction of personal wireless technologies the general population seems to be plagued with the same symptoms, which we call electrohypersensitivity disorder or EHS.

What do these three events have in common? The introduction of chronic overexposure to electromagnetic fields.

In the telephone switchboard operator case, the personelle would manually place jacks into a switchboard panel to connect one telephone caller to another individual by the use of a switchboard cable. Their proximity to the switchboard caused them to be chronically exposed to hundreds of live telephone connections for up 8 hours each. They sat with electromagnetic fields on their head from the speakers in their headset and their bodies came in contact with voltage by the individual connections.

In the case of the radar operators, they worked near large radar antennas that were broadcasting and receiving wireless electromagnetic fields.

In the third case, we now wear microwave transmitters in the form of smart phones,wireless tablets that constantly emit Wi-Fi, blue tooth, and cellular data.

So basically, neurasthenia, radio wave illness and electrohypersenitvity are one and the same. However, neurasthenia is classified as an illness in the WHO list of diseases and EHS is relegated to idiopathic environmental illness, which basically means we don’t know the cause. In reality, the medical community knew it was a problem but in order to allow technology to progress the use of the word neurasthenia fell out of favour and is rarely used today as a diagnosis.

With the help of microsoft and the University of California, the Royal Commission document headed by the former Prime Minister of Canada, William Lyon Mackenzie King of the plight of the Bell Switchboard Operators was documented and digitized and I have made it available here. It is a fascinating read and the transcription of the hearing deserves to be turned into a feature film or at least an audio book.



Missing Podcast?

If you see an error with an archived podcast or know that an episode of our show is missing, please press the button below to send us a message so we can look into it.

Enter your name and email if you want to be notified when this podcast is fixed:

'The Disease of “Modern” Civilization . . . Neurasthenia' has no comments

Be the first to comment this post!

Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

©Copyright One Radio Network 2014 • All rights reserved. Site built by RedLotus AustinThe information on this website and talk shows is solely for informational and entertainment purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors, producers of One Radio Network, Patrick Timpone, their guests or web masters take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained on this website in written or audio form, live or podcasts. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider and take total responsibility for his or her actions at all times. Patrick Joseph of the family of Timpone, a man...All rights reserved, without recourse.