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Professor Olle Johansson

Professor Olle Johansson, scientific advisor for ES-UK

Olle Johansson introduced the clinical term "screen dermatitis" to explain the cutaneous damages that developed in the late 1970's when office workers, first mostly women, began to be placed in front of computer monitors. Many of them became ill and developed cutaneous and neurological problems. Several clinical dermatologists, headed by the late professor Sture Lidén, instead talked about union-driven fears, mass media-based psychoses, imagination phenomena, Pavlovian conditioning, and so forth. Olle Johansson, however, refused to reduce people to an ill-defined psychologic home-made diagnosis, without any support even among experts in psychology and psychiatry. Instead, he called for action along lines of occupational medicine, biophysics and biochemistry, as well as neuroscience and experimental dermatology.

He has always supported the democratic principle that citizens are allowed to be ill even in a disease, i.e. a new diagnosis, that is not yet acknowledged by the medical establishment. All diseases were once a "new diagnosis", and it should be remembered that the medical profession strongly has doubted asbestosis, cold urticaria, AIDS, the mad cow disease, skin lice, etc. He has never stopped asking questions and is constantly using the answers to put into place the ever-growing number of pieces of a very, very complicated and enigmatic puzzle.

According to Olle Johansson, persons claiming adverse cutaneous and neurological reactions after having been exposed to computer screens, cellular phones, low-energy light bulbs, etc., very well could be reacting in a highly specific way and with a completely correct avoidance reaction, especially if the provocative agent was radiation and/or chemical emissions -- just as you would do if you had been exposed to e.g. sun rays, X-rays, radioactivity or chemical odours. The working hypothesis, thus, early became that they react in a cellularly correct way to the electromagnetic radiation, maybe in concert with chemical emissions such as plastic components, flame retardants, etc.

Nowadays, thanks to his endless efforts, electrohypersensitivity (EHS) is in Sweden an officially fully recognized functional impairment (i.e., it is not regarded as a disease). Survey studies show that somewhere between 230,000–290,000 Swedish men and women – out of a population of 9,000,000 - report a variety of symtoms when being in contact with electromagnetic field (EMF) sources.

The electrohypersensitive people have their own handicap organization, The Swedish Association for the Electrohypersensitive (www.feb.se; the website has an English version). This organization is included in the Swedish Disability Federation (Handikappförbundens SamarbetsOrgan; HSO). HSO is the unison voice of the Swedish disability associations towards the government, the parliament, and national authorities, and is a cooperative body that today consists of 43 national disability organizations (where The Swedish Association for the Electrohypersensitive is 1 of these 43 organizations) with all together about 500,000 individual members. You can read more on www.hso.se (the site has an English short version).

Olle Johansson, associate professor, head of the Experimental Dermatology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, at the Karolinska Institute (famous for it's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine) in Stockholm, Sweden, is a world-leading authority in the field of EMF radiation and health effects. He has published more than 500 original articles, reviews, book chapters and conference reports within the field of basic and applied neuroscience. He has worked with a number of international colleagues that, later on, became Nobel Laureates, including professors Andrew V. Schally and Roger Guillemin among several.

His doctoral thesis at the Karolinska Institute had the title "Peptide Neurons in the Central and Peripheral Nervous System. Light and Electron Microscopic Studies". He has participated in more than 300 congresses and symposia as an invited speaker, and with free contributions and as an invited 'observer' at an additional 100.

He is a member of, e.g., The European Neuroscience Association (ENA), The European Society for Dermatological Research (ESDR), IBAS Users of Scandinavia (IBUS), The International Brain Research Organization (IBRO), The International Society for Stereology (ISS), The New York Academy of Sciences, The Royal Microscopical Society (RMS), Scandinavian Society for Electron Microscopy (SCANDEM), The Skin Pharmacology Society (SPS), Society for Neuroscience, Svenska Fysiologföreningen, Svenska Intressegruppen för Grafisk Databehandling (SIGRAD), Svenska Läkaresällskapet, and the Svenska Sällskapet för Automatiserad Bildanalys (SSAB).

He is often used as referee for a large number of scientific journals, including the Acta Dermato-Venereologica, Acta Obstetrica & Gynecologica, Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, Acta Stereologica, Archives of Dermatological Research, Brain Research, Canadian Journal of Zoology, Diabetologia, European Journal of Dermatology, Experimental Brain Research, Experimental Dermatology, Histochemical Journal, Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy, Journal of Comparative Neurology, Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Journal of Microscopy, Neurobiology, Neuroscience, Regulatory Peptides, and Skin Pharmacology.

He has on-going international scientific collaborations with, e.g., Japan, Brasil, India, Serbia, Germany and USA. His studies have been widely recognised in the public media, including newspapers, radio and TV as well as on the Internet, both nationally as well as internationally.

He has, besides the above-mentioned fields of interest, worked hard and in great depth in areas such as skin diseases, cancer, child delivery, female urine incontinence, oral mucosa diseases, brain and spinal cord morphology, synaptology and chemical transmission, peripheral nervous system-related issues, cardiac function, skeletal muscle function and disease, connective tissue ripening phenomena, and so forth. He is regarded as a scientist of the greatest accuracy and critical thinking, honesty and respect for the scientific principles. He has always seen himself as a civil servant employed by the citizens, thus, his work has always been aimed at supporting persons in need, rather than yielding personal career benefits, something he has had to personally pay greatly for.

Examples of papers

Wang L, Hilliges M, Jernberg T, Wiegleb-Edstrom D, Johansson O, "Protein gene product 9.5-immunoreactive nerve fibres and cells in human skin", Cell Tissue Res 1990; 261: 25-33

Johansson O, Hilliges M, Bjornhagen V, Hall K, "Skin changes in patients claiming to suffer from "screen dermatitis": a two-case open-field provocation study", Exp Dermatol 1994; 3: 234-238

Johansson O, Virtanen M, Hilliges M, "Histaminergic nerves demonstrated in the skin. A new direct mode of neurogenic inflammation?", Exp Dermatol 1995; 4: 93-96

Johansson O, "Elöverkänslighet samt överkänslighet mot mobiltelefoner: Resultat från en dubbel-blind provokationsstudie av metodstudiekaraktär" (=Electrohyper-sensitivity and sensitivity to mobile telephones: Results from a double-blind provocation study of pilot character", in Swedish), Enheten för Experimentell Dermatologi, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Rapport nr. 2, 1995, ISSN 1400-6111
(First study on humans)

Johansson O, Liu P-Y, ""Electrosensitivity", "electrosupersensitivity" and "screen dermatitis": preliminary observations from on-going studies in the human skin", In: Proceedings of the COST 244: Biomedical Effects of Electromagnetic Fields - Workshop on Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (ed. D Simunic), EU/EC (DG XIII), Brussels/Graz, 1995, pp 52-57

Hilliges M, Wang L, Johansson O, "Ultrastructural evidence for nerve fibers within all vital layers of the human epidermis", J Invest Dermatol 1995; 104: 134-137

Johansson O, Hilliges M, Han SW, "A screening of skin changes, with special emphasis on neurochemical marker antibody evaluation, in patients claiming to suffer from screen dermatitis as compared to normal healthy controls", Exp Dermatol 1996; 5: 279-285

Johansson O, "Några tankar kring elöverkänslighet och bildskärmsskada", Enheten för Experimentell Dermatologi, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Rapport nr. 1, 1996, ISSN 1400-6111

Gangi S, Johansson O, "Skin changes in "screen dermatitis" versus classical UV- and ionizing irradiation-related damage--similarities and differences. Two neuroscientists' speculative review", Exp Dermatol 1997; 6: 283-291

Johansson O, Liu PY, Bondesson L, Nordlind K, Olsson MJ, Lontz W, Verhofstad A, Liang Y, Gangi S, "A serotonin-like immunoreactivity is present in human cutaneous melanocytes", J Invest Dermatol 1998; 111: 1010-1014

Johansson O, Liu P-Y, "No differences found by immunohistochemical screening of certain neuropeptides in patients suffering from so-called "screen dermatitis"", Enheten för Experimentell Dermatologi, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Rapport nr. 3, 1998, ISSN 1400-6111

Johansson O, Wang L, Hilliges M, Liang Y, "Intraepidermal nerves in human skin: PGP 9.5 immunohistochemistry with special reference to the nerve density in skin from different body regions", J Peripher Nerv Syst 1999; 4: 43-52

Hilliges, M, Johansson O, "Comparative analysis of numerical estimation methods of epithelial nerve fibers using tissue sections", J Periph Nerv Syst 1999; 4: 53-57

Johansson O, Fantini F, Hu H, "Neuronal structural proteins, transmitters, transmitter enzymes and neuropeptides in human Meissner's corpuscles: a reappraisal using immunohistochemistry", Arch Dermatol Res 1999; 291: 419-424

Johansson O, Liu P-Y, Enhamre A, Wetterberg L, "A case of extreme and general cutaneous light sensitivity in combination with so-called 'screen dermatitis' and 'electrosensitivity' - a successful rehabilitation after vitamin A treatment - a case report", J Aust Coll Nutr & Env Med 1999; 18: 13-16

Bornehag C-G, Hamnerius Y, Hult M, Johansson O, Norrby C, Åberg U, "Hälsomässig och teknisk utvärdering av fyra elsanerade bostäder i kvarteret Haubitsen, Uppsala", Enheten för Experimentel Dermatologi, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Rapport nr. 4, 1999, ISSN 1400-6111

Bianchi B, Matucci R, Danesi A, Rossi R, Ipponi P, Giannotti B, Johansson O, Cappugi P, "Characterization of [3H]substance P binding sites in human skin", J Europ Acad Dermatol Venereol 1999; 12: 6-10

Jacobi HH, Johansson O, Liang Y, Nielsen HV, Thygesen C, Hansen JB, Jinquan T, Skov PS, Poulsen LK, "Histamine immunocytochemistry: a new method for detection of basophils in peripheral blood", J Immunol Methods 2000; 237: 29-37

Gangi S, Johansson O, "A theoretical model based upon mast cells and histamine to explain the recently proclaimed sensitivity to electric and/or magnetic fields in humans", Med Hypotheses 2000; 54: 663-671

Jacobi HH, Johansson O, "Human dendritic mast cells", In: Mast Cells and Basophils (eds. G Marone, LM Lichtenstein, SJ Galli), Academic Press, San Diego, 2000, pp 89-95

Södergren L, Johansson O, "Commentary: Mobile telephones - will the golden goose become the mad cow?", J Aust Coll Nutr & Env Med 2001; 20: 29-30

Johansson O, Gangi S, Liang Y, Yoshimura K, Jing C, Liu P-Y, "Cutaneous mast cells are altered in normal healthy volunteers sitting in front of ordinary TVs/PCs - results from open-field provocation experiments", J Cutan Pathol 2001; 28: 513-519

Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Melanoma incidence and frequency modulation (FM) broadcasting", Arch Environ Health 2002; 57: 32-40

Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Har tusentals personer offrats i onödan sedan 1955?" (="Have thousands of persons unnecessarily been sacrificed since 1955?"; in Swedish), Nord Tidsskr Biol Med 2002; 2: 26-27

Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Cancerdödlighet och långtidssjukskrivning" (="Cancer mortality and long-term sick leave"; in Swedish), Tidskriften Medikament 2002; 7: 40-41

Slominski A, Pisarchik A, Semak I , Sweatman T, Wortsman J, Szczesniewski A, Slugocki G, McNulty J , Kauser S, Tobin DJ, Jing C , Johansson O, "Serotoninergic and melatoninergic systems are fully expressed in human skin", The FASEB Journal express article 10.1096/fj.01-0952fje, published online April 23, 2002

Slominski A, Pisarchik A, Semak I, Sweatman T, Wortsman J, Szczesniewski A, Slugocki G, McNulty J, Kauser S, Tobin DJ, Jing C, Johansson O, "Serotoninergic and melatoninergic systems are fully expressed in human skin", FASEB J 2002; 16: 896-898

Sromová L, Larsson M, Johansson O, "Verksamheten vid ELRUM 1998-2000" (="ELRUM 1998-2000 - Results and conclusions", in Swedish), Arbetslivstjänster Västerbotten, Umeå, 2001; 12 pp

Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Cancer trends during the 20th century", J Aust Coll Nutr & Env Med 2002; 21: 3-8

Slominski A, Pisarchik A, Johansson O, Jing C, Semak I, Slugocki G, Wortsman J, "Tryptophan hydroxylase expression in human skin cells", Biochim Biophys Acta 2003; 1639: 80-86

Rajkovic V, Matavulj M, Johansson O, "Histological and stereological analysis of cutaneous mast cells in rats exposed to 50 Hz EMF", 6th International Congress of the European Bioelectromagnetics Association (EBEA), Budapest, Hungary, November 13-15, 2003 (abstr.)

Johansson O, "Screen dermatitis and electrosensitivity: Preliminary observations in the human skin", In: Electromagnetic Environments and Health in Buildings (ed. D Clements-Croome), Spon Press, London & New York, 2004, pp 377-389

Ward RS, Tuckett RP, English KB, Johansson O, Saffle JR, "Substance P axons and sensory threshold increase in burn-graft human skin", J Surg Res 2004; 118: 154-160

Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Malignant melanoma of the skin - not a sunshine story!", Med Sci Monit 2004; 10: CR336-340

Johansson O, "Elöverkänslighet - en form av strålskada" (="Electrohypersensitivity - a kind of irradiation damage", in Swedish), Tf-bladet 2004; (3): 12-13

Johansson O, "Electrohypersensitivity: Observations in the human skin of a physical impairment", Symposium on "Electrical Sensitivity in Human Beings", Royal Society of Medicine, London, U.K., September 11, 2004 (abstr.)

Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Does GSM 1800 MHz affect the public health in Sweden?", In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop "Biological Effects of EMFs", Kos, Greece, October 4-8, 2004

Johansson O, "Electrohypersensitivity: Observations in the human skin of a physical impairment", WHO Workshop on "Electrical Hypersensitivity", Prague, Czech Republic, October 25-27, 2004 (abstr.)

Johansson O, "Elektro-Hypersensitivität: Beobachtungen von physikalischen Schäden an der menschlichen Haut", "2nd National Congress for Afflicted Persons by Electrosmog", Olten, Switzerland, November 13, 2004 (abstr.)

Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "1997 - A curious year in Sweden", Eur J Cancer Prev 2004; 13: 535-538

Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Long-term sickness and mobile phone use", J Aust Coll Nutr & Env Med 2004; 23: 11-12

Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Mobile handset output power and health", Electromag Biol Med 2004; 23: 229-239

Rajkovic V, Matavulj M, Johansson O, "An immunohistochemical and morphometrical study of the power-frequency electromagnetic field influence on skin and thyroid amine- and peptide-containing cells in rats", BioEM 2005, Dublin, Ireland, June 19-24, 2005 (abstr.)

Johansson O, "Funktionsnedsättningen elöverkänslighet och samhället: kollision eller kyss?" (="The physical impairment electrohypersensitivity and society: collision or kiss", in Swedish), Medicinsk Axess 2005; 1 (2): 68-71

Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "FM broadcasting exposure time and malignant melanoma incidence", Electromag Biol Med 2005; 24: 1-8

Lauria G, Cornblath DR, Johansson O, McArthur JC, Mellgren SI, Nolano M, Rosenberg N, Sommer C, "EFNS guidelines on the use of skin biopsy in the diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy", Europ J Neurol 2005; 12: 1-12

Rajkovic V, Matavulj M, Johansson O, "Histological characteristics of cutaneous and thyroid mast cell populations in male rats exposed to power-frequency electromagnetic fields", Int J Radiat Biol 2005; 81: 491-499

Rajkovic V, Matavulj M, Johansson O, "The effect of extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields on skin and thyroid amine- and peptide-containing cells in rats: An immunohistochemical and morphometrical study", Environ Res 2005; 99: 369-377

Holmboe G, Johansson O, "Symptombeskrivning samt förekomst av IgE och positiv Phadiatop Combi hos personer med funktionsnedsättningen elöverkänslighet", (="Description of symptoms as well as occurrence of IgE and positive Phadiatop Combi in persons with the physical impairment electrohypersensitivity", in Swedish), Medicinsk Access 2005; 1 (5): 58-63 http://www.medicinskaxess.se/nr5/eloverkanslighet5.pdf

Johansson O, "The effects of radiation in the cause of cancer", The Charity Canceractive, Nov 6, 2005 http://www.canceractive.com/page.php?n=967

Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Alzheimer mortality - why does it increase so fast in sparsely populated areas?", Europ Biol Bioelectromag 2005; 1: 225-246

Guan X, Johansson O, "The sun-shined health", Europ Biol Bioelectromag 2005; 1: 420-423

Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Glesbygd är en sjuk miljö, nu börjar även friska dö" (="Say to countryside goodbye, when even healthy people die"; in Swedish), Enheten för Experimentell Dermatologi, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Rapport nr. 6, 2004, 45 sidor, ISSN 1400-6111

Rajkovic V, Matavulj M, Johansson O, "Light and electron microscopic study of the thyroid gland in rats exposed to power-frequency electromagnetic fields", J Exp Biol 2006; 209: 3322-3328

Johansson O, "Hur ska vi bemöta den ökade mängden luftburen strålning?" (="How shall we cope with the increased amount of airwave radiation?", in Swedish), Medicinsk Access 2006; 2 (5): 76-78 http://www.medicinskaccess.se/nr5_2006/debatt_5_2006.pdf

Johansson O, "Electrohypersensitivity: State-of-the-art of a functional impairment", Electromag Biol Med 2006; 25: 245-258

Johansson O, "How shall we cope with the increasing amounts of airborne radiation?", J Aust Coll Nutr & Env Med 2006; 25: 5-6

Johansson O, "Ökad bestrålning gör oss utslitna" (="Increased irradiation wears us down", in Swedish), Ljusglimten 2006; 17 (4): 9-11

Rajkovic V, Matavulj M, Johansson O, "Histological studies of the thyroid gland in rats after combined exposure to electromagnetic fields and the endocrine disrupting compound atrazine", 8th International Congress of the European BioElectromagnetics Association (EBEA) 2007, Bordeaux, France, April 10-13, 2007 (abstr.)

Sage C, Johansson O, Sage SA, "Personal digital assistant (PDA) cell phone units produce elevated extremely-low frequency electromagnetic field emissions", Bioelectromagnetics 2007; 28: 386-392

Sage C, Johansson O, "Response to Comment on "Measuring ELF fields produced by mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs)"", Bioelectromagnetics 2007; 28: 581-582

Sage C, Johansson O, "Response to Comment on "Personal digital assistant (PDA) cell phone units produce elevated extremely-low frequency electromagnetic field emissions"", Bioelectromagnetics 2007; 28: 584-585

Johansson O, "Kronisk trötthet, utbrändhet, sköldkörteln samt funktionsnedsättningen elöverkänslighet" (="Chronic fatigue, burnout, the thyroid gland and the impairment electrohypersensitivity", in Swedish), Läkartidningen 30/8 2007 http://www.lakartidningen.se/includes/07showComments.php?articleId=7346#881

Johansson O, "Evidence for effects on the immune system", In: The BioInitiative Report: A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields (ELF and RF) (eds. CF Blackman, M Blank, M Kundi, C Sage), 2007, Section 8, http://www.bioinitiative.org

Johansson O, "Fredrik Reinfeldt, now that you are Sweden's prime minister, are you prepared to listen?", J Aust Coll Nutr & Env Med 2007; 26: 19-20

Lindkvist L, Johansson O, "SSI lägger ansvaret för skadorna av mobilstrålningen på dig" (="The Swedish Radiation Protection Authority puts the responsibility for the mobile phone radiation damages on you!", in Swedish), Arbetarbladet 23/10 2007 http://www.arbetarbladet.se/utskrift.php?id=576016&avdelning_1=103&avdelning_2=122

Cohen A, Carlo G, Davidson A, White M, Geoghan C, Goldsworthy A, Johansson O, Maisch D, O'Connor E, "Sensitivity to mobile phone base station signals", Env Health Perspect 2008; 116: A63-A64

Lindkvist L, Johansson O, "Utan trådlöst för barnens skull!" (="Without wireless for the sake of the children", in Swedish), Dalarnas Tidningar 6/2 2008 http://www.dt.se/opinion/debatt/article276988.ece

Lindkvist L, Johansson O, "Utan trådlöst för barnen skull" (="Without wireless for the sake of the children", in Swedish), Nerikes Allehanda 12/2 2008

Lindkvist L, Johansson O, "Utan trådlöst – för barnens skull" (="Without wireless - for the sake of the children", in Swedish), Corren 20/2 2008 http://www.corren.se/archive/2008/2/19/jlhjeylx6ecdgcx.xml

Blomberg H, Johansson O, "Carpal tunnel syndrome and microwave exposure from mobile telephony: A case report", Neurology 2007, to be submitted

Yoshimura K, Liang Y, Kobayashi K, Johansson O, "Alteration of the Merkel cell number in the facial skin of electrosensitive persons - a morphological study", 2007, to be submitted

Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Rapport från pilottest --- Webbapplikationen Nevi - ett sätt att samla in medicinska data över nätet" (="Report from a pilot test - The web application Nevi, a means to collect medical data over the Internet", in Swedish), Enheten för Experimentell Dermatologi, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Rapport nr. 5, 2003, ISSN 1400-6111, in manuscript

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