Medical doctor discusses the published, peer-reviewed literature for Wind Turbine Syndrome (Australia)

Nov 26, 2012


Editor’s note:  The following report was submitted on 11/22/12 by Dr. Sarah Laurie, CEO of the Waubra Foundation (Australia), to the Australian Federal Senate as testimony in support of  the “Excessive Noise from Wind Farms Bill.”

To read the entire submission, click here.

The Range of Clinical Pathology and Symptoms Reported Directly to the Waubra Foundation with Exposure to Operating Wind Turbines and Some Other Sources of Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise and Vibration (ILFN & V)

Clinical Framework

The considerable range of clinical pathology and symptoms reported by sick residents and their treating doctors is best understood in the way clinicians assess symptoms with respect to the pattern of reported symptoms, the category of clinical specialty or body system they relate to, and how the symptoms and problems change over time with cumulative exposure.

Only the pathology and symptoms reported directly to me are included in this list. Most of my information has come from residents in Australia. It is included only when I have been satisfied that it appears to be correlating with the operating wind turbines (or other sources of ILFN & V), that is, there is a clear and consistent pattern in the resident’s account of the symptoms or observations which consistently varies with exposure, or is unmistakably linked to it if it was a discrete episode of illness, or where there is relevant research which supports the linking of the symptom or described problem with ILFN & V.

I am aware that other trained medical practitioners who have taken first-hand clinical histories from sick residents, such as Professor Robert McMurtry and Dr Nina Pierpont, have had other pathology reported directly to them, which may not be listed here. There is nothing inconsistent with that, rather it is to be expected when the range of expression of this pathology in each individual is so varied. It is the PATTERN of exposure resulting in new or worsening symptoms, correlating with exposure to operating wind turbines or ILFN & V from other sources, which is the common link.

For the purposes of understanding which pathophysiological processes might be involved, these reported symptoms and problems have been divided into acute and chronic pathology. Because of the considerable complexity and range of information required to put the symptoms into the context of current clinical knowledge, I have first provided some background information.

Acute Exposure Symptoms

These include but are not limited to:

Symptoms of Vestibular Disorders

These were investigated and described in considerable detail in a group of residents living near wind turbines from locations around the world by American Paediatrician Dr Nina Pierpont MD PhD, and given the name of “wind turbine syndrome.”  Other rural medical practitioners had collected data some years earlier, including Dr Amanda Harry (UK) and Dr David Iser (Australia).

This cluster of symptoms was known previously to medical researchers and clinicians working in the fields of inner ear diseases, disorders of balance, and Meniere’s disease, and is grouped together by clinicians as “vestibular disorders.”  Internationally acknowledged researchers who have worked in this field include Dr Owen Black MD.  I have attached an affidavit written by Dr Black in 2009 which places Dr Pierpont’s work in this context.  Dr Black was one of a number of expert peers who reviewed her work.  The continued assertion that her work is not “peer reviewed” is untrue.

Editor’s note:  It’s worth reading the NASA Technical memorandum 83288,  “Guide to the Evaluation of Human Exposure to Noise from Large Wind Turbines,” 1982, which Dr Black sent to Dr Pierpont after Black had reviewed Pierpont’s book, “Wind Turbine Syndrome.”  Dr Black, who died this past year, was a consultant to NASA and the US Navy on vestibular disorders suffered by astronauts and deep sea divers.  It’s clear that by 1982 the US federal government realized “large wind turbines” were causing unspecified “annoyance,” which, despite the article’s title, it artfully sidestepped by categorically denying any “noise/vibration” impacts below 20 Hz—on the assumption that the human ear did not and could not detect these.  That assumption has been since proven spectacularly wrong by Dr Alec Salt.  See, for instance, this article about Salt’s research.  You can also do a Search function for “Alec Salt” on this site, and find numerous other articles, most of them by Salt himself.

Dr Pierpont connected the pattern of symptoms described to her by sick residents, to the symptoms known to acousticians with existing knowledge and research in this field of low frequency noise exposure, and recognized that vestibular disorders were the basis of much of the symptomatology being reported by these residents.  These symptoms and their correlation with exposure to low frequency noise are also well known to some occupational physicians and also to acousticians, such as Professor Geoffrey Leventhall, and Dr Malcolm Swinbanks, both from the United Kingdom.

Professor Leventhall [an acoustician, not a physician] has stated he is well aware of these symptoms and their connection to exposure to low frequency noise, and the precise quote from his court evidence and its source is listed in my attached letter to Professor Simon Chapman.  Also attached is the table from page 49 of Leventhall’s 2003 DEFRA literature review, listing the symptoms identified in a case control study in 2000 identifying identical symptoms which were reported by residents to occur in response to LFN exposure. This DEFRA document is the same document which I highlighted in my oral evidence to the Senate inquiry as a serious omission from the NHMRC’s Rapid Review of 2010, and can be accessed here.

Dr Malcolm Swinbank’s comments in a recent letter are reproduced below:

I would comment that I first became aware of the physical effects of infrasound when working extensively on site with an industrial gas turbine in 1980. I identified specific aspects which were closely related to some symptoms of sea-sickness with which I was very familiar, being a keen offshore sailor. Thus I did not doubt that infrasound under some circumstances can cause adverse effects, and the relationship to sea-­sickness implied that there was probably some interaction with the balance mechanisms of the inner ear. So the more recent work of Dr Nina Pierpont did not strike me as heresy—rather, it endorsed an opinion that I had formed from my own direct, first-­hand experience in an entirely different context, almost 30 years earlier.

Dr Swinbanks is not the only acoustician to have developed symptoms of low frequency noise exposure whilst working in an environment measuring ILFN. Robert Rand and Stephen Ambrose had the same experience while measuring the full acoustic spectrum inside a home in Falmouth, USA, over three days. They have both since stated it took days to weeks to recover from the experience.

Symptoms of Acute Sympathetic Nervous System Stimulation, or activation of the fight/flight response. These include symptoms such as a tachycardia (rapid pulse), hypertension (high blood pressure), anxiety, and other rare pathologies related to acute elevations of circulating adrenaline, a stress hormone. These include specifically Tako Tsubo Heart Attacks, and Acute Hypertensive crises, both of which are reported to be occurring in the presence of known ILFN but in the absence of the usual clinical precursors.  Such a precursor includes a sudden stressful traumatic event in the case of Tako Tsubo Heart Attacks (death of a close relative is the usual example cited) and an underlying tumour of the adrenal gland called a phaeochromocytoma in the case of an acute hypertensive crisis.

As Dr Pierpont and others have pointed out, there is overlap and connections between these two groups of acute pathologies and symptoms, which is grounded in the known science. Vestibular disorders which stimulate the fight/flight response or, as Professor Salt has called it, “the alerting mechanism,” will inevitably lead to a physiological fight/flight response as a consequence.

Dr Swinbanks has also recently highlighted the research by a Chinese team from 2004, showing that infrasound exposure in humans in a laboratory situation for a very short period of time causes increases in heart rate and blood pressure as well as symptoms such as nausea, which confirms the coexistence of the physiological sympathetic nervous system stimulatory effect and the vestibular disorder symptoms (nausea). The link to Dr Swinbank’s paper placing this important Chinese research in its correct context was presented to the InterNoise conference in New York in August 2012.

Chronic Cumulative Exposure Symptoms/Problems

Consequences of Cumulative Sleep Deprivation

The commonest reported symptom or problem by residents is disturbed sleep. Sometimes residents report hearing the audible noise of the turbines when they are woken, but other times they cannot hear the turbines and report a characteristic pattern of “waking suddenly in a panicked state.” This can occur when they cannot see the turbines (they are asleep!), cannot hear them, and have no way of knowing at the time inside their home whether the turbines are operating. This can happen numerous times each night, and correlates with wind direction and certain weather conditions which acousticians confirm are likely to enhance the perception of sound energy.

Being in a well insulated home can make the symptoms, including sleep disturbance worse, which fits with the research evidence of Professor Alec Salt, confirming that the inner ear responds very differently when there is predominantly low frequency sound energy present, which can result in stimulation of the “alerting mechanism” of the brain. It fits with the acoustical survey data collected by Rand and Ambrose in the USA and at multiple locations in Australia by Steven Cooper, where the acoustic profile inside a well insulated home can be quite different from that obtained concurrently outside the home. This is why internal home measurements of the full acoustic spectrum are so important; external measurements do NOT reflect the actual experienced ILFN exposures inside the home, and cannot be used as a substitute.

This identical pattern of sleep disturbance and, on occasion, perception of vibration through the bed, has been reported by residents living near wind turbines and also by those living near coal mining activities in the Upper Hunter, where the mine was at least 5km away, through a hill. Independent acoustic measurements taken at multiple locations near wind turbines and coal mining confirmed the presence of sound frequencies below 200Hz, regardless of the source of the sound energy. These residents consistently report that their sleep pattern improves on those occasions when there is no sound energy from the source of ILFN & V, or when they are away from their homes.

The cumulative effects of sleep deprivation are very well known to clinical medicine, and result in both new disorders and exacerbation of existing conditions, regardless of the cause of that sleep disturbance. Conditions include mental health disorders (depression, anxiety), metabolic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular pathologies such as hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and impaired immunity leading to increased infections and, in the long term, malignancies (cancers). A recent meta-analysis by Professor Capuccio from Warwick University provides a useful summary of the importance of sleep with respect to cardiovascular health. . . .

here to read more


F.P. Cappuccio et al. “Sleep duration predicts cardiovascular outcomes:  A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies,” European Heart Journal (2011).

Bruce S. McEwen, “Protective and damaging effects of stress mediators,” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 338, no. 3 (Jan 15, 1998), pp. 171-79.

S.G. Shannon et al., “Effect of vibration frequency and amplitude on developing chicken embryos,” U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory, Report No. 95-1 (Oct 1994), 39 pp.


  1. Comment by Marsh Rosenthal on 11/26/2012 at 7:36 pm

    This is the “smoking gun”. Lest it go unnoticed, in the section above, “Symptoms of Accute SYMPATHETHIC NERVOUS SYSTEM STIMULATION”, wherein the FIGHT/FLIGHT MECHANISM is stimulated, including the onset of extreme hypertension, arrhythmias, notably tachycardia, attacks of anxiety, in the presence of catastrophic releases of the STRESS HORMONES, adrenaline, cortisol, and catecholamines, bears a closer look.

    The fitful wakings from sleep are physiological eruptions of severe disease conditions within the body. The human body is not evolved nor equipped to sustain multiple, serial stress reactions. It is unable to recoup after such a series.


    This, then, must be recognized as the most dire possible outcome of exposure, a mere week of which for some, to the acoustic energy of IWTs. It is the equivalent of being “scared to death”, as has been recently been commented upon by the Wall Street Journal.

    The SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM is responsible for the automatic operation of the living body. It signals the smooth muscle linings of all the arteries and arterioles of the circulatory system to contract during normal function. Similarly, it tells the smooth muscle linings of the gut to contract rhythmically to produce the peristalsis that moves the food through the gut during digestion.

    Small wonder that kids are coming home from their wind turbine hammered school in Fairhaven, MA, with migraines, nosebleeds, earaches, and tummy aches.

    The kids are victims of a form of noise, one they probably can’t hear, ILFNs, that is scrambling the very functioning of their young bodies.

    My question to you all is, “How much longer is this experimentation with human life going to be tolerated?”


    Editor’s note: Marsh, we were unaware of kids getting ill from the turbine next to their school in Fairhaven, MA. Can you write this up as an article for us to publish?

  2. Comment by Itasca Small on 11/27/2012 at 4:08 pm

    Another excellent report by Dr. Laurie! I hope and pray that it will find wide readership and open minds. The biggest obstacle to success in the Wind War is closed minds and indoctrinated minds, fueled by visions of “green” dollar signs dancing in the void. No reasonable person who enjoys an open and caring mind hungry for Truth can read this report and deny there is a PROBLEM!!!

    I, too, am thankful for the reference to the Sympathetic Nervous System, both by Dr. Laurie and by Marsh Rosenthal. The latter’s commentary regarding the tragic criminal assault upon the children of Fairhaven fuels the blaze of righteous indignation burning in my soul. . . . I was just pleasantly interrupted here to watch ultrasonic images of my newest grandnephew growing at five months of gestation. To think of all the unborn babies, both human and animal, assaulted by MAN-MADE ILFN & V, in their complete vulnerability, without defense or protection from government and its co-conspirators! And, all the likewise victimized children of Fairhaven and every other IWT site in proximity to their homes and schools! This is True Evil!

    I am disappointed to see no reference to the manifestation of the constellation of symptoms into one of the secondary adverse effects: the repetitive assault triggering the SNS and Fight/Flight stress reaction to the point of weakening, or overpowering already weak, adrenal glands and causing precipitous decline toward, and into, Addison’s Disease. (I have communicated with Dr. Laurie, so I’m not just wishing someone could read my mind or my commentary!) I know Dr. Laurie needs to be certain she is reporting on confirmed effects. I do hope the scientific and medical community is taking an active interest in such reports in order to form a more complete picture of the dire consequences of continuing to subject human beings and other living creatures to the insidious and pernicious ILFN & V generated and propagated by Industrial Wind Turbines while governments twiddle their collective thumbs and listen to Nero fiddling amidst the flames!

    In my own case, the Sympathetic Nervous System connection is another puzzle piece, in that, I also had a diagnosed, pre-existing condition of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSDS, now known as CRPS Type I/RSD) when the IWT assault began. A better understanding of the etiology and mechanism of RSD might help to shed light on why some victims react differently to the stimulation of the SNS by ILFN & V from the Wind Monsters.


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