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United Kingdom Wireless Networking Medicine

Mother Blames Wi-Fi Allergy For Daughter's Suicide ( 503

An anonymous reader sends news that a UK woman named Debra Fry has begun a campaign to raise awareness for "electro-hypersensitivity" (EHS) after the suicide of her daughter, Jenny, earlier this year. Fry says her daughter was allergic to Wi-Fi, and blames Jenny's school for not removing wireless routers and other networking equipment. A 2005 report from the World Health Organization said, "EHS has no clear diagnostic criteria and there is no scientific basis to link EHS symptoms to EMF exposure. Further, EHS is not a medical diagnosis, nor is it clear that it represents a single medical problem." School officials were firm in declining to remove the equipment without solid evidence supporting Fry's claims. A public health official said, "The overall scientific evidence does not support the suggestion that such exposure causes acute symptoms or that some people are able to detect radiofrequency fields. Nevertheless effective treatments need to be found for these symptoms."
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Mother Blames Wi-Fi Allergy For Daughter's Suicide

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @11:17AM (#51041539)

    Funny how reality and fiction sometimes intersect, seems like a tragic episode of Better Call Saul, where Jimmy's brother has electromagnetic hypersensitivity.. Is this even such a thing.. .curious

    • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @11:44AM (#51041847)

      Is this even such a thing.. .curious

      Hypochondria is a real illness recognized in the DSM-IV. As far as anyone has ever proven scientifically, "EHS" is a fancy term with absolutely no real evidence. More or less like people who claim wind power makes them sick, it seems to come and go based on whether the victim believes the device is present and turned on. Which is very much like hypochondria...

      Unfortunately, tell people their disease is mental, not physical and they are insulted and rage. When in fact mental diseases are real and certainly FEEL real to the person suffering from them. I find it far more likely that our brain can suffer from "idea viruses" that it takes far too seriously, than somehow our body is reacting to radio waves, when those same waves are, and have always been, present from our favorite daystar (and to a much lesser degree, all the other daystars shining at us).

  • by MindStalker ( 22827 ) <> on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @11:18AM (#51041543) Journal

    Sad story, a mothers crazy notions about what was causing her daughters illness, leads daughter to assume its true. Kids trust their parents about these things. There is very little difference between a real medical condition and one you believe you are having. The school though, should have looked into getting both of them psychological help.

  • In other words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (ecirpdrahcir)> on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @11:19AM (#51041553)

    Daughter kills herself, mother wants to blame everyone but herself.

    If the mother really believed in the condition, why wasn't she home schooling the daughter after the school refused to remove the equipment on a whim? Also, what the hell did they do about their neighbours etc and why did the daughter have a mobile phone?! Did the creators of the 802.11 spec magically choose the single frequency that affected this girl, among all the billions of others?

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @11:37AM (#51041777)
      I have invented the perfect cure for those suffering from EHS. I have a patented procedure in which I take bottles of pure water and expose each of them to very precise amounts of electromagnetic radiation. The device for this uses only natural electromagnetic radiation and focuses it to ensure that the treatment is healthy and all natural. Each bottle is exposed for an increased amount of time, and the patient drinks each bottle starting from the lowest level and increasing from there. Through this process the body is able to build up a tolerance to electromagnetic radiation and will alleviate the symptoms of this horrible disease. And each treatment can be had for the low price of only $100 per 16oz bottle.
      • Homeopathy beat you to it.
        • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

          Homeopathy beat you to it.

          It's modeled after homeopathy, but for electromagnetic waves. Basically, I was talking about putting bottle of water next to a radio tuned to static for an hour. I'll be rich!

          • by MrKevvy ( 85565 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @12:59PM (#51042711)

            Since this therapy is building up a resistance to electromagnetism, you can call it Ohmeopathy.

            My agent should be contacting you shortly to discuss my royalty fee structure. Thank you.

            • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

              Since this therapy is building up a resistance to electromagnetism, you can call it Ohmeopathy.

              My agent should be contacting you shortly to discuss my royalty fee structure. Thank you.

              You can have 1/1000th of a cent for every dollar I make. It's ok though, it still remembers being a dollar so it's worth just as much.

    • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

      Home schooling in the United Kingdom is way and I mean *WAY* more difficult that in the USA. If you are not a qualified teacher you are onto a no hopper to begin with because you will have to be inspected by Ofsted and you will fail otherwise. By the time you get to secondary school level meet the curriculum requirements is nigh on impossible for home schooling.

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @11:20AM (#51041573)
    Whenever my WiFi goes down I feel sad and depressed.
    • I guess there is more scientific basis to support a causation in that!
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      That's odd. When my WiFi goes down, everyone else seems to get happier.

    • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @12:02PM (#51042073) Homepage

      Whenever my WiFi goes down I feel sad and depressed.

      Yeah, you need to save some porn to your hard drive to get you through those times.

    • by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @12:05PM (#51042107)

      You joke, I know, but perhaps this is really some social situation that nobody knows about, some kind of cyberbullying that she was exposed to that gave her such emotional anxiety that it produced physical symptoms.

      The "wifi" connection could have been that the bullying was most intense where the people doing the bullying were together and had good network connectivity, which turned out to be at school.

      Perhaps mom was never aware of it or daughter never was able to consciously face it, and once the anxiety and pain could be transferred to blaming the wifi signals, the daughter and the mom made that their focus and whatever was the real cause got buried or forgotten.

      Obviously this is just a guess, but there has to be some other explanation besides EMF.

    • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @01:55PM (#51043197) Homepage

      Last night, I thought my wife was asleep and I went about upgrading our router's firmware. Turns out she was watching Hulu. I can confirm that my wife also suffers from a Lack-of-Wifi allergy. No WiFi made her really cranky. I think it's contagious too because the longer the router was down (I encountered difficulties bringing it back up after the firmware upgrade), the crankier I got as well. All of the symptoms went away once the router worked again and the WiFi came back on.

      • You don't have redundant network infrastructure? What kind of a monster are you?

        • I know, right? My only non-redundant point of failure is the DSL modem, and I have a couple of cold standbys configured.

          I kind of wish I was kidding about that, honestly.

  • No, it has to be the Wi-Fi. It couldn't possibly have been the fact that the mother was a psychotic idiot who made her daughters life a living hell.

  • by steak ( 145650 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @11:21AM (#51041601) Homepage Journal

    are wifi allergies this decades morgellans?

  • Sadly, this mother should have had invested in a tin hat. She should have also removed all cellular phones form the house, wrapped it in a Faraday cage, and removed any televisions, vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, computers, really anything with an inductor. In addition I would suggest that she consider joining an Amish community. I won't argue with her that large amounts of electro-magnetic energy can not affect the brain. However to call it an allergy, where the body attacks itself due to an external ir

  • Despite there being no supporting evidence, this seems to be a favourite thing to blame at the moment. And while it's easy to disregard this as nonsense we have a woman who is clearly upset over losing her daughter. Perhaps there is not a shred of scientific evidence over WiFi being a cause but there was obviously something very real causing her daughter distress and she would be better campaigning for _that_ to be properly investigated.

  • Cell phone? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AntronArgaiv ( 4043705 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @11:31AM (#51041713)

    Yet the article says she texted friends. A cell phone is much more powerful than wifi...

    Sad. But probably not caused by wifi.

  • Because the daughter obviously has precedent of mental illness in her immediate family.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @11:33AM (#51041743)

    Someone in my extended family had severe bipolar disorder which included hallucinations. As she became better medicated, she tried her best to grasp the difference between reality and what was going on in her bastard brain. Know what didn't help, though? Her mother upholding the belief that she had some sort of mystical connection to spirits. I couldn't give a fuck whether people have woowoo beliefs, but surely even someone engaged in woowoo understands that it is possible to be mentally ill, and for any hallucinations to be completely and merely the product of a faulty brain? God damn fucking "I want to believe" wins out every time, though, doesn't it?

    Anyway, this wonderful person died by suicide last year. It wasn't BECAUSE of the above, as suicide is a complex fucking thing and it's extremely rare that one person's action/inaction is to blame for what is essentially a fatal symptom of an illness. But it didn't help.

  • Am I the only one flashing back to Pat Pulling and the whole "Dungeons & Dragons is evil and causes suicide" bullshit? When Pat Pulling's claims of D&D suicides was researched it was found that in most of the cases she cited, no death occurred, and in some cases, they were fictional people.

    In fact, of the actual suicides that could be identified, there was a far closer correlation between having parents who were religious wingnuts any reasonable person would rather die than live with than with playi

    • by Chrisq ( 894406 )

      When Pat Pulling's claims of D&D suicides was researched it was found that in most of the cases she cited, no death occurred, and in some cases, they were fictional people.


      I can concur, playing D&D does result in the death of many fictitious people

  • There is/was an 802.11D. The D doesn't appear to refer to Death.

  • > "I did some research and found how dangerous Wi-Fi could be"

    No no no no no no...

  • by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @11:48AM (#51041889)

    This article all but proves that wi-fi or some supposed wi-fi allergy had nothing to do with this. From the article:

    "Jenny’s mother, Debra Fry, said her daughter suffered with tiredness, headaches and bladder problems as a direct result of wireless internet connections at Chipping Norton School. "

    All three of those symptoms are also well-known symptoms of depression: the tiredness caused by the loss of energy and changes in sleep from the depression itself, and the headaches and bladder problems probably caused by malnutrition due to changes in diet caused by depression. I'm honestly surprised the article didn't interview a psychiatrist about this, because I can guarantee any psychiatrist worth their title would tell them that all of these things are signs of depression and that the mother should have gotten help right away.

    What it makes me wonder is if the mother did go to a doctor who told her that the symptoms were caused by a "wi-fi allergy" or if she simply deluded herself into thinking it because she didn't want to admit that her daughter had depression. In either case, someone should probably be charged with murder.

    • No real doctor would say "wi-fi allergy" in a non-derisive tone.

      The correct term for that is "quack".

    • by T.E.D. ( 34228 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @01:42PM (#51043101)

      What it makes me wonder is if the mother did go to a doctor who told her that the symptoms were caused by a "wi-fi allergy" or if she simply deluded herself into thinking it because she didn't want to admit that her daughter had depression. In either case, someone should probably be charged with murder.

      Speaking as a parent with 3 kids on anti-depressants now, I'd guess the latter. For our first kid, that "mental illness" thing was a huge hump to get over. Not just for us either. My son just did not want to accept it (he can get like that). He thought it made him "crazy". I finally convinced him to go on meds as a practical matter. Depression has been shown to have a self-feeding effect. Bad episodes can alter your brain to make recurrence more likely. But once we'd gotten over that hump, it wasn't such a big deal with his siblings. So at least his turmoil perhaps helped make the transition easier for them. In my youngest's case, perhaps saved her life.

      There's a lot of shame for families involved too, because it tends to run in families. I'm probably only talking about it openly because it appears to be my wife's side of the family with the history of it, rather than mine. You probably won't hear her talking about it this openly.

      I went to a funeral of a friend who was suffering and committed suicide this past summer. My group of his friends didn't know about his problems at all, and his friends and family who did were all church people, and were trying to help him "pray it away". What really broke my heart was his note to them apologizing for not being good enough to do so. But they rationalized this was God's Will somehow. (I'm a believer myself, but if God sends you a boat, you don't stay praying, you get on the damn boat. This town is full of doctors who would have helped him in a minute).

      So I'm not surprised at all that someone would refuse to admit their kid had depression, and even perhaps in extreme cases transfer all their shame and anger onto some other third party.

      What's truly sad is that it doesn't have to be that way at all. So many people die and/or lose loved ones needlessly. Bipolar or Depression is usually just a brain chemical imbalance. Finding the right meds isn't always trivial, but it tends to be effective if you can stay on them. You just have to manage it carefully, kinda like having diabetes.

      • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @02:19PM (#51043445) Homepage

        It really is a shame that we stigmatize mental illness and disorders like we do. If someone has a physical ailment like diabetes, nobody (apart form a few wackos who are safely ignored) would think there's something wrong with the person taking insulin or modifying their diet. However, if someone has a mental disorder, they are told to "just get over it" as if they woke up one day and said to themselves "Hey, I think I'll be depressed today."

        When my son was diagnosed with Autism (not a mental illness, but gets grouped in there in many people's minds), my parents had a hard time accepting it. They still insist that he'll "grow out of it." What upset them even more was when I said that I was sure that I was autistic as well (just not diagnosed). They acted as though me being autistic was a bad judgement on their parenting. As if I was saying "Well, I'm autistic because you were horrible parents." If anything, I think it means they were better parents because they were dealing with something without knowing what it was and I still turned out pretty good. My wife and I have access to a lot more resources for my son than my parents had with me.

        We're not going to be able to properly deal with mental illness and disorders until we stop stigmatizing people for having them.

  • But I do have a couple errant thoughts on the matter.

    Consider a little town in Texas who's name I cannot recall (talking population in the hundreds). A wireless carrier decided this was a strategic place to build a tower. The townspeople made quite a row about believing it would impact their health. All the same, the tower went up. Upon completion, a percent of the town's population "fell very ill". This quickly proceeded to become a substantial percentage of the town's population. A lawsuit was prepared.H
    • Consider a little town in Texas who's name I cannot recall (talking population in the hundreds).

      It was probably South Africa [], although it wouldn't surprise me if there were multiple examples of this.

  • Linked here to be self-referential: [] []

    Bottom line, some people are stupid enough that they need to be reminded to breathe on a regular basis.


  • by Kozar_The_Malignant ( 738483 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @12:22PM (#51042307)

    >Nevertheless effective treatments need to be found for these symptoms.


  • by quietwalker ( 969769 ) <> on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @12:37PM (#51042471)

    For example, every time I see or hear Donald Trump, or hear about his standing in polls, I experience waves of nausea, get headaches, become irritable, and have troubles thinking anything other than 'dark' thoughts.

    I know a lot of people who have the same allergic reaction, and I think it's only fair that we make the US a Donald Trump free zone, to end this sort of suffering.

The more cordial the buyer's secretary, the greater the odds that the competition already has the order.