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The nocebo effect, and why it’s much more dangerous than wind turbines

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Anti-wind energy activists have shifted the goal posts over the years, with aesthetic, birdlife, carbon abatement and even economic issues getting a run. But by far the most cutting attack has been around noise, and the supposed health impacts that result.

There is no question that wind turbines create sound, and that in some circumstances this sound can be heard at nearby residences. Rigorous noise standards are designed to give a reasonable level of protection against sleep disturbance, taking into account the location of turbines, the model, and existing background noise. This approach is not unusual, and similar standards are applied to a range of man-made noise sources, from pubs to freeways.

While this is good enough for most people, some still find the residual noise levels annoying. At this point, noise level alone isn’t a good predictor of annoyance — personality and existing attitudes tend to dominate. Those residents with a clear view of the turbines tend to find them more annoying, while those receiving an economic benefit are more tolerant . Compounding this, residents with negative-oriented personality traits tend to perceive turbine noise as being louder. At the extreme, I’m aware of at least two wind farms where complaints have been received about excruciating, intolerable levels of noise, only for the resident to be told that the wind farm was shut down at the time.

Just because these factors cannot be quantified with a sound logger does not mean nothing can be done. Community engagement, face-to-face discussion and education go a long way, as does ensuring a lasting community benefit. In some cases landscaping or improved sound insulation can solve the problem. While this undoubtedly affects indoor sound levels in many cases, it also empowers residents with a sense of control over the situation, improving their outlook more generally. Developers are now keenly aware that listening to the local community and sharing the financial benefits is pivotal in getting a wind farm built, and keeping neighbors happy.

That should be the end of the story.

Alas, all manner of health issues (216, at last count) have been attributed to wind farms, even when the wind farm is completely inaudible, located tens of kilometers away, or, as mentioned, not even operating. These physics-defying claims are largely a result of fear mongering around infrasound.

Infrasound is defined as any sound at a frequency of 20Hz or less, and is typically measured on a scale of dBG. It is perhaps the ideal vehicle for a scare campaign — it’s ominous sounding, and most people don’t have a clue what it means. Infrasound has been linked to a number of physiological and anatomical changes, including blood pressure and tissue changes in the heart, brain, lung and liver, as reviewed by Prof. Geoff Leventhall and others. Crucially, however, all of these effects have been observed at extremely high infrasound levels, typically 100dBG or more.

Infrasound needs to be about 85dBG before it is audible, and wind turbines produce infrasound at around 65dbG (reference 1, 2, 3). That is, the infrasound produced by modern wind turbines is far below the threshold of audibility. Stating that wind turbines produce dangerous levels of infrasound is like saying a mobile phone can cook you because a microwave can. There’s a safe dose, and an unsafe dose, and a well-defined boundary between them.

Sarah Laurie, the former South Australian GP who pushes the infrasound-wind-turbine-syndrome wagon, fails to understand this distinction. As Prof. Leventhall has said:

“I am genuinely appalled that Dr Laurie believes that experimental exposure to high levels of Infrasound, around 125dB and higher, is relevant to the low levels of infrasound from wind turbines… .”

Those very few anti-wind activists who have spotted this slight fault in reasoning frequently go to the works of Professor Alec Salt. Salt suggests that the outer hair cells of the guinea pig cochlea may be sensitive to levels of infrasound below the threshold of audibility, at say 65dBG. To claim this is relevant to the bizarre assemblage of diseases attributed to wind farms is a gigantic leap in physiological reasoning, but there’s a much more serious and obvious fault in Salt’s hypothesis — infrasound is ubiquitous in the natural and manmade environment at levels greater than that measured near wind farms. Beaches are particularly strong sources of infrasound. A threshold of 65dBG is so low as to be meaningless. If infrasound at 65dB is harmful, then beaches, air conditioners, cities and traffic must be deadly.

A peer-reviewed critique by Bolin and colleagues weighs up the Salt hypothesis:

No references were made to published compilations of knowledge that indicates that the infrasound to which humans are exposed to by wind turbines is moderate and not higher than what many people are exposed to daily, in the subway and buses or at the workplace …. It is therefore hard to see that Salt and Hullars’ results are relevant for risk assessment of wind turbine noise in particular.

In summary, there’s no evidence to show that the infrasound produced by modern wind turbines is anything but harmless, and not for lack of study. So why is it so frequently and passionately blamed for symptoms?

A study recently published by Crichton and colleagues in the journal Health Psychology explains the phenomenon. Fifty-four participants were shown a series of videos that gave either (a) expert accounts explaining that the infrasound from wind turbines would not cause symptoms, or (b) first person accounts of symptomatic experiences attributed to wind farms.

The participants were then exposed to either low-level infrasound, or a sham condition where they were told they were being exposed to infrasound when none was present. This is termed a provocation study. They were then asked to rate their experience of a range of symptoms. Sure enough, those that were primed to expect the worst reported more symptoms, with the presence of infrasound having no effect one way or another.

This is a textbook example of the nocebo effect. If you believe something bad is going to happen, then chances are your brain will make it happen.

This should come as no surprise. While the nocebo effect is ethically challenging to study, there is still a sizeable literature on the subject. Placebo controlled drug trials, ironically, provide abundant evidence of this effect. In drug trials where patients are receiving placebos (that is, innocuous sugar pills) roughly a quarter report side-effects, the most common being headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and difficulty concentrating. Oddly enough, these generalized symptoms are also commonly reported in wind turbine syndrome.

And then there are the analogous studies looking at electromagnetic radiation (EMR), such as that produced by mobile phone handsets and base stations. Like infrasound, EMR is generally imperceptible (unless you’re sitting inside a microwave), and provided certain standards are adhered to, can be reasonably treated as safe. A provocation study published in the British Medical Journal showed that symptoms can be induced in those who believe they are sensitive to EMR simply by being told that EMR is present – whether it was there or not made no difference. Another study, similar to that undertaken by Crichton and colleagues, was able to increase symptom reporting in subjects by showing them television segments about adverse health effects attributed to WiFi. Such phenomena extend beyond the lab. A field study published in 2010 looked at sleep quality among ten German villages where temporary mobile phone base stations had been erected. Those who expressed concerns about the health effects of the base stations tended to have poorer sleep quality. Again, whether the tower was operating or not made no difference.

These are just a handful of examples; given the right context, nocebos have been shown to bring about everything from erectile dysfunction to asthma attacks.

The nocebo effect can bring about symptoms in two ways. First, it may cause the misattribution of existing common symptoms to an unrelated external factor. A majority of Australians, for instance, already report disturbed sleep, and 3.1 million of us have high blood pressure. This can have serious consequences – if sufferers are fixated on wind turbines, they may neglect to treat any actual underlying diseases. A second mechanism may be through anxiety and stress, both of which can make an otherwise innocuous stimulus unbearable, and reduce the capacity to cope with it. The root cause is not the stimulus, rather the anxiety induced through negative anecdotes, media reports, or someone in a white coat telling you that the stimulus will be painful.

The nocebo effect isn’t a matter is being gullible, a hypochondriac, malingering or trying to mislead anyone. Everyone is vulnerable to nocebos, and placebos, to some extent. Nonetheless, it creates a very difficult situation.  Many who believe they are experiencing wind turbine syndrome have latched onto the infrasound red herring so strongly that to suddenly change face and accept an alternative explanation is unthinkable. An outstanding problem for researchers, health agencies and wind farm operators is working out how to provide such people with satisfactory answers, grounded in scientific reality, while preserving their dignity.

The implications of the nocebo effect on public discourse are extremely serious. The anecdotal evidence put forth by anti-wind activists is of insufficient quality to influence the scientific and medical community, so they have instead turned directly to the public, touting their findings in blogs, newspaper letters and town meetings across Australia. Presented without context or peer review, these findings are taken at face value, and create immense community anxiety. In some cases, the very mention of wind energy is enough to precipitate symptoms, long before a single turbine is ever installed.

When the nocebo effect is put forward as an explanation for wind turbine syndrome, proponents of this faux disease inevitably claim “victim blaming”. This is a perverse and dishonest accusation. Those who ascribe symptoms to wind turbines are not to blame. Those politicians, activists and media figures who irresponsibly tout half-baked anecdotes and pseudoscience, however, should be held to account for the harm they cause. There is a legitimate need for further study to allay community concerns, and to report on the debate. But there is no place for propaganda and scare campaigns.

Dr David Perry holds degrees in behavioural neuroscience and electrical engineering, and a PhD in auditory neuroscience from The University of Melbourne. He is a volunteer director of Hepburn Wind. The views expressed here are personal.  

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  • Leon

    Well written, excellent article. Only reinforces in my mind that residents affected by the noise and sight of wind turbines should be financially compensated, to a small degree, for the impact. Every turn of the blades is a penny in their pocket – imagine how much better they’ll be feeling. Of course, some people are too rich to care and would rather their environment was left more pristine. I sympathise. I don’t love development. The more that wind is built in already developed areas – where the major power demand is – the better. Have residents near coal mines and coal power stations been compensated ever? Probably only by having the chance to work in those places…

    It’s a compelling case for community ownership of power infrastructure. I guess we used to think of government ownership as being community ownership ;-(

  • Excellent article, David. Bang on.

    The people fomenting sickness via spreading disinformation are causing much more harm than any good that they might be doing in a couple of specific cases.

    • George Papadopoulos

      Mike, that professor who holds the same views as yourself suggested that Sarah Laurie was making people at King Island sick. Just that his crass opinion was not even based on his narrow-minded research. The wind turbines are not even up yet so how is the fear factor making people ill? Fearful of what?

      • So George, you haven’t realized that people are complaining — and suing — over wind turbine effects before wind turbines are erected? Haven’t you been paying attention?

        The health impact here is stress. The stress doesn’t come from wind turbines, it comes from fear and disinformation. The fear and disinformation precede the wind turbines.

        The latest massively failed lawsuit in Ontario was complaining about property value impacts before any wind farm was even approved. Health impacts are occurring before wind farms are operational, and when they aren’t operational. This screams of psychological, not physiological impacts.

        • George Papadopoulos

          Oh I see! You and others getting sick from all the proactive attempts people are making to protect themselves against this industry!
          So where is your evidence that people are getting sick from awareness campaigns? How do people get sick from nocebo when then turbines aren’t even there! So what was your darling professor implying when he made his comment on Sarah Laurie’s talk at King Island?
          Mike, next time a nuclear plant is proposed, I would like to see what would happen if someone audacious like yourself confronted the residents telling them that unless the plant blows up/leaks radiation they have no reason to suspect it will constitute a health risk or decrease the value of their property – thoughts contrary to this are “sickness”.
          If you don’t got my point then I suggest you need a brain transplant.

  • Ian Garradd

    Wind turbines, like windmills in Holland are beautiful and elegant things, responding to nature, in a way akin to sailing boats.
    They also generate an enormous amount of energy at very low cost

    • George Papadopoulos

      Ian, it looks like you and Miles perhaps read the same instructions manual from wind industries office of propaganda.

      • Ian Garradd

        I have stood under them, listened to them, witnessed sheep and cattle happily grazing under wind turbines, enjoyed the sight of the gentle spinning rhythm…. and enjoyed using electricity generated from them for many years.
        I also know people who have consistent employment manufacturing and maintaining wind turbines.
        All so fantastic.

        I feel sad people such as you get erectile dysfunction as well as a range of imaginary afflictions, even by just thinking about them. I also suspect there is going to be more employment for psychiatrists too, to deal with the anti- wind and anti- logic fraternity.

        • George Papadopoulos

          Ian did you see any dead birds or bats under the wind turbines? And did you notice any abandoned homes around the wind turbines? Also did you ever wonder why something the span of a jumbo, producing a “compression stroke” (as one wind industry rep to referred to it) would appear so gentle to your eyes?
          I think your blind erotic love with wind turbines risks giving you priapism.

          • Ian Garradd

            There is no compression stroke with a wind turbine, as compression strokes happen predominantly with fossil fuel internal combustion engines and compressors.
            in contrast wind turbines produce smooth (though intermittent) energy. Linked up with other turbines around the country the output is smoothed out.
            South Australia generated half its entire demand of electricity last week from turbines.
            This is approaching the regular situation in more advanced countries such as Denmark, where there is a very healthy relationship with wind turbines.
            Apparently there are no weird afflictions over there.
            Anyhow the proven medical problems associated with coal mining and global warming are well recognised by the medical and other parts of the scientific (evidence based) community, in stark contrast with the complete lack of evidence around wind “afflictions” and the associated crackpots.

          • George Papadopoulos

            Ian it was your wind-industry friend that called it a compression – the characteristic THUMP that happens as the blade passes by the tower.

            Oh and that urban myth about Denmark and its love for wind turbines that we Anglophones are meant to believe: https://www.windturbinesyndrome.com/2013/a-true-noise-hell-wind-turbines-in-denmark/
            Ian you really need to do a bit more research – it might help you work out why claims against wind turbines are huge but still fall way behind those against drugs like Roaccutane.

  • George Papadopoulos

    David, could I suggest that your article be enriched with statements like this:
    “It has been dogmatically defined by the not-so-holy office of the wind industry religion that victims of wind developments are by definition NIMBYS, jaundiced money lovers who hate their profiteering neighbours, and first and foremost anti-wind energy activists. They install nocebo in gullible citizens, and the movement is run by two American and Australian witches. Any suggestion otherwise incurs automatic excommunication. Offenders will be deprived of all social and political glory and status. May the glory of the lofty wind turbines live forever!”

  • Miles Harding

    Thank you, David.

    It’s odd that when I ask my friends about their experiences with wind turbines, they actually like the sound!
    Many see it as reassuring both from the rhythmic nature, like the surf crashing in the distance, and the knowledge that the machine is working through the night for their benefit.

    I would not be so quick to discount malingering. For a long time it has been apparent to me that a driver behind community antithesis has been the potential for a compo payout.

    Of course, it could also be the people can’t tell then they’re digesting garbage anymore. It always depresses me to hear the obvious rubbish that people apparently believe. Noisy disingenuous groups certainly don’t help.

    • George Papadopoulos

      Miles, you must have some very interesting and peculiar friends…
      Machines working through the night for their benefit? What benefit? Financial?

  • farcebuster

    The jig is up guys. Doesn’t matter how hard you try to mislead people, the emissions are measurable and responsible for impaired health.
    Move on to something new.

  • RuralGrubby

    There are some great critiques of this nocebo effect at the following –
    http://waubrafoundation.org.au/resources/chapmans-et-al-evidence-for-psychogenic-communicated-disease-hypothesis/

    Note that Dr. David Perry is not a medical practitioner, nor is he an audiologist or an
    acoustician, who has worked in this area. This is in marked contrast to
    the authors of the critiques listed at the link above. It is also in
    marked contrast to the Kelley work from 1985, 1987, which proved a direct
    causal relationship between infrasound and low frequency noise, building
    resonance, and the symptoms being reported by the residents, specifically related to wind turbines.

    Note also that Dr. Perry has A CONFLICT OF INTEREST in this matter which is revealed in the disclosure down at the bottom of this article about Hepburn wind.

    Hepburn Wind has driven people out of their homes at Leonards Hill. Hepburn wind
    refuses to hand over the noise data to the residents, as requested by them, so
    that compliance with existing noise regulations can be determined.

    What are Hepburn Wind hiding? Could they be possibly be breaking the law just with audible noise guidelines, let alone what they are doing with the infrasound and low frequency noise which is not even measured.

    • mark duchamp

      You are so right: what are they hiding?

      And why do governments and wind industry refuse to carry out measurements of low frequency sound and infrasound inside the homes of people who complain?

      The cover up on infrasound has been going on since 1987, after it was found to be a problem with wind turbines:
      http://www.epaw.org/documents.php?article=ns56

      • Catprog

        How does this EPA report showing higher infrasound at their own office then wind turbines affect the debate?

        http://www.epa.sa.gov.au/xstd_files/Noise/Report/infrasound.pdf

        • George Papadopoulos

          Much like comparing a crying baby to a singing canary. People find the effects of one distressing, the other pleasant.
          The qualitative aspect is one GROSSLY ignored in the EPA report. Likewise the tonality of wind turbines and the amplitude modulation is again avoided.

          • mark duchamp

            Exactly! Infrasound from the sea is soothing, but the thumps of wind turbines are a pain. Ever tried to sleep with a dripping faucet?

  • Ketan Joshi

    David,

    Great article, and essential reading for residents considering wind developments near their towns.

    It’s sad how much sway pseudoscience has had on people genuinely seeking good quality information on the safety of wind turbines. A couple of comments on this thread already illustrate the fervour and ideology that leads to non-science being propped up as more worthwhile than the advice of health authorities or registered medical practitioners.

    In case anyone’s interested, the Victorian Department of Health recently released a report on this issue:

    http://www.health.vic.gov.au/environment/windfarms.htm

    • George Papadopoulos

      Ketan, you seem to have forgotten about the response Professor Alec Salt made about the document you quote: it is biased and deficient and ignores recent research about the effects of inaudible noise on the inner ear.
      And your favourite professor in Sydney rudely dismissed this research as an experiment on rat hairs.
      It says a lot about your commitment to science and understanding. Your world refuses to evolve!

    • George Papadopoulos

      Ketan, if we are to believe that nocebo is at work from wind farm victims, it would be easier to believe that placebo is at work for those who would believe stories like this:

      ‘There was no coal-fired power in SA at all – just gas and wind for those two record weeks,” said Ketan Joshi, a research and communications officer at wind farm operator Infigen Energy. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/carbon-economy/wintry-blasts-blow-away-wind-energy-records-20130826-2skhk.html#ixzz2d9o9DgZj

      I wonder where the coal miners, truck drivers and coal plant workers went for two weeks on short notice? Maybe a temporary redundancy, or sitting around getting paid to play cards and backgammon? Or perhaps coal plants revving like they ever do and continuing to pollute the atmosphere regardless…

      • Giles

        George, i can answer that. The two coal plants were closed, not running at all. Playford has been closed for more than a year, Northern since late June. the gas plants did what they do most of the time. They were switched off,. That’s what they are designed to do.

        • George Papadopoulos

          Giles, thank you for the clarification. So Ketan was busy marketing his industry’s hype – two windy weeks making no difference to coal consumption as the coal plants were switched off anyway for other reasons. I assume that for those two weeks, the coal plants elsewhere, particularly Victoria continued to pollute unabated. And for gas, let’s keep drilling holes, destroying aquifers, polluting water sources, driving farmers mad with low frequency noise from CSG installations. Its all part of the haphazard transition from dirty coal to making rural Australia a desolate place full of CSG wells and wind turbines…

          • Giles

            Two windy weeks made every difference to coal consumption, because if the coal power from victoria was used elsewhere, squeezing black coal plants and gas out of the grid elsewhere, particularly as the wind contribution was high in the eastern states too. There has been no extra gas needed to back up wind, as the energy market operator has made clear.

          • George Papadopoulos

            Giles, I could certainly believe that inefficient, expensive open-cycle gas plants went off line. But coal plants? Have you forgotten the fact finding mission by Hamish Cumming, published in the Australia that showed that the Victorian coal plants consumes not one bead difference with relation to wind energy output?

            And as far as closing down the Port Augusta coal plants, seems like it has to do with local coal costs and availability and preference for solar thermal: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2011/10/6/smart-energy/brown-coal-solar-thermal

          • Giles

            Hamish Cumming’s mission found myths, not facts. He failed to understand it is national market, his conclusions were shown to be a lot of tosh. The emissions from SA’s power network have fallen by a third, and emissions elsewhere in the NEM have also fallen. Don’t confuse publication in a News Ltd publication as any official endorsement of anything. The owners of the Port Augusta coal plants have made it very clear why the coal plants are closed – because wind is bringing down the price of electricity and forcing them out of the market.

          • George Papadopoulos

            Giles, myths? I think the claims of Hamish Cumming are clear: the coal stations in Victoria do not adjust or alter their coal consumption in relation to wind output. It is a little strange that your words are dogma whereas those of others are myth. This is a common pattern you find in the minds of religious fanatics.

            I think that Port Augusta plants however had a dilemma which was emphasised slightly differently back in 2011 before the wind industry propaganda machine made the most of it (citing wholesale prices which are not depressed when the wind isn’t blowing): http://econews.com.au/news-to-sustain-our-world/bze-in-solar-thermal-power-push-for-south-australia/

            The keywords in this report are coal availability, and the cost of transporting the coal from a location 300km away, local opposition, let alone competition from the local smelters for whatever coal supplies remain.

          • Giles

            Don’t get abusive or i’ll cut you off for good.
            Victorian brown coal generators don’t adjust, or even close down for extended periods (unless they flooded) because they have received so much compensation from the governments. So the impact is passed on down the line to the black coal generators. It is a national market, remember. See these reports http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/rooftop-solar-claims-more-coal-scalps-and-clips-peaks-of-demand-83312 for more explanation as to what happening to coal.
            Yes, Port Augusta got all sorts of problems on supply, costs and social licence. That’s why they one of the first generators to leave the market.

          • George Papadopoulos

            Giles, I am sorry if you feel I am being abusive – but calling the fact finding missions of others “myths” with no justification is not going to gain you any respect either! Threatening to cut me off “altogether” should be seen in the perspective of the nasty language I cop from your friends who display the grossest indecency yet escape any censure….
            But I think given our exchange that it rather clear that the closure of the coal plants at Port Augusta was not directly related to the presence of wind energy. If you are to argue that coal energy is heavily subsidised, then what is the RET doing for wind.

      • Ketan Joshi

        Giles beat me to it! Those two power stations were offline. I suspect they weren’t revving.

        • George Papadopoulos

          Ketan, in the quote above it sounds like you were certain about the coal plants not revving. However can you explain the glee about “just gas” and “no coal-fired power”?

  • George Papadopoulos

    Ketan, Mike, Ian – here is just one more document that casts doubt on your flawed theories of nocebo, Anglophone nations and NIMBY syndrome. http://wilfriedheck.tripod.com/manif4e.htm . It says a lot about the credibility of your favourite professor and his ability to do research even on the Google search engine.

    This document was written in 1998 by Germans and includes the following statement:

    “More and more people describe their lives as unbearable when they are directly exposed to the acoustic and optical effects of wind farms. There are reports of people being signed off sick and unfit for work, there is a growing number of complaints about symptoms such as pulse irregularities and states of anxiety, which are known from the effects of infrasound (sound of frequences below the normal audible limit). The animal world is also suffering at the hands of this technology. On the North Sea and Baltic coasts birds are being driven away from their breeding, roosting and feeding grounds. These displacement effects are being increasingly observed inland, too.”

    • RobS

      Anecdotal stories of locals convinced they are being harmed completely supports the notebook theory. Why do you embarrass yourself by responding to scientific literature with links to anecdotes?

      • George Papadopoulos

        Oh yes Rob, I am so embarrassed…
        A document signed by a large list of professors and other academics, including those with expertise in medicine and psychology, would be simply raising their voices over a little anecdote? Is that all you understand?
        The point I was making was that the hypotheses of Chapman, blindly and fanatically accepted by some, about the “Anglophonic” nature of health complaints and wind turbines are anything but based on good research. He can split hairs when it comes to finding even the vaguest reference to claims against wind turbines, but grossly failed to locate a document that demonstrated the health concerns over wind turbines in non-Anglophone nations. How is that for scientific literature?

        • RobS

          The document is an opinion statment, some of the professors agreeing with that opinion:

          Prof. Dr. phil. Dr. h.c. Hans-Günter BUCHHOLZ (Archeology)
          Prof. Dr. rer.nat. Dietrich von DENFFER (Botany)
          Prof. Dr. Wolfgang DONSBACH (Science of Communication)
          Prof. Dr. Hermann FINK (English Philology, American Philology)
          Dr. Gertrud FUSSENEGGER (Writer)
          Prof. Dr. Gerhard GÖHLER (Political Science)
          Prof. Dr. theol. Hubertus HALBFAS (Religion)
          Prof. Dr.-Ing. Kurt STAGUHN (Art Paedagogy)

          So we have a statement of opinions, anecdotes and hearsay like “there are reports of people being sick for work” (a weasel phrase if ever I heard one) written in 1998 when wind turbine technology was in its infancy signed by archaelogists, botanists, communication experts, philologists, political scientists, fine arts educators and my personal favorite a doctor of theology. You think this document is relevant and authoritative on the health effects of modern wind turbines? Yes, I’d say you should be embarrassed.

          • George Papadopoulos

            Rob, I suggest you pay VERY CAREFUL attention to my message above. YOUR darling professor and his dedicated followers keep claiming that two “high-priestesses” install nocebo and that claims of poor health with wind turbines are an Anglophone phenomenon – not to be found elsewhere in the world.

            If you can’t live with that then it is your problem!

          • RobS

            YOur rant makes no sense whatsoever, I am critiquing your linked report as trash, You cannot “install nocebo” it is the phenomenon of people who perceive harm where none exist. I’m not sure what it is I cant live with, but I hope I survive nonetheless. Your “VERY CAREFUL” comment comes across as a veiled threat, Grow up.

          • George Papadopoulos

            Rob, so you must then agree that your professor got it wrong? The Anglophone hypothesis is utterly flawed, so then this casts some further doubt on his nocebo hypothesis.So the problem is one of international dimensions… Just that I can’t speak German, Dutch, Swedish, Chinese, Spanish etc. So does the wind industry rely on language barriers to blind the Anglophones to what it does to other cultures?
            I am sorry Rob if my comments come through as a threat to you. Now do you have anything better to discuss?

          • RobS

            I have never commented on an “anglophone hypothesis” I do not “have” a professor, once again your rant is nonsensical. My comments were to debunk the claims you were making about that “report” fortunately I see that you have not denied any of the points I made about it.

          • George Papadopoulos

            Rob, I’m sorry I have misunderstood you, but on what do you base the idea that psychogenic illness/nocebo explains problems around wind turbines – isn’t it based on the “research” of that professor in Sydney? Do you think this fully explains why people get seriously ill around wind farms? Do you think that a document signed by a long list of professors is a bit of paper to be ignored because one has a doctorate in Theology?

          • RobS

            Yes I do think psychogenic illness explains “wind farm syndrome”. I think it is hilarious you calling other people’s research into question after presenting to support your position a 20 year old statement of opinions with not a single referenced fact all backed up by a bunch of signatures many of which are in completely unrelated fields. Show us some peer reviewed published research that supports a diagnosis of “wind farm syndrome” or stop embarrassing yourself.

          • George Papadopoulos

            Rob, who talks about “wind farm syndrome”? Ever seen me using that term?
            You say: ‘Yes I do think psychogenic illness explains “wind farm syndrome”‘. I understand that to mean that you believe a poorly formulated hypothesis about a term no one in research talks about…

            There are a couple of papers below. Can you quote me the research that supports your idea that psychogenic illness explains at least some if any of the findings in these papers?

            Nissenbaum et al 2013: http://www.noiseandhealth.org/article.asp?issn=1463-1741;year=2012;volume=14;issue=60;spage=237;epage=243;aulast=Nissenbaum

            Shepherd et al 2012: http://docs.wind-watch.org/NAH_2011.pdf

            Arra & Lynn 2013 https://www.wind-watch.org/documents/association-between-wind-turbine-noise-and-human-distress-literature-review/

          • RuralGrubby

            Can you explain why the gov’t and industry refuse to do a noise assessment that includes low frequency and infrasound in the homes of people who are affected?? What medical qualifications do you have that allows you to ascertain these residents are suffering from a psychogenic illness. Have you directly interviewed these people or visited their homes??