What is it about?

Pulsed magnetic fields (PEMF) have been used in medicine and healing for over 50 years, to treat conditions like bone fractures, inflammation, and chronic pain. However, the signals used were highly complex and no one really understood what feature (frequency, amplitude, etc.) was important for the health effects. In this paper, this mystery is addressed by showing that cells respond to small decrease in the earth's geomagnetic fields by producing ROS, which induces the health benefits. We conclude that the signals used for PEMFS can be considerable simplified to yield more predictable effects at lesser cost and greater effectiveness.

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Why is it important?

PEMF therapy on the ;market has great potential. It can treat many serious conditions where no other therapy is effective (eg chronic pain), safely and without side effects. Our work hugely simplifies the design and implementation of the treatment compared to existing devices on the market. Also the way we study them, using a simple cell culture coupled with a simplified exposure system, can be used to even further improve the benefit.


This paper goes against established perceptions and challenges existing paradigms in the PEMF domain. For example , the idea that PEMF effects can be explained so simply, ie due to cellular response to small changes in the static magnetic field, goes against prevailing views that electrostatic mechanisms or others are important. Furthermore the observation that formation of ROS (reactive oxygen) can explain basically all of the beneficial effects of PEMF are also likely to rattle the cages of dogma. Because this explanation so nicely fits the observations, and because our data are so conclusive concerning mechanism, we think our work will be a driving force to improve treatment efficacy so they will be adopted by the medical mainstream.

Margaret Ahmad
Universite Paris-Sorbonne

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: HEK293 cell response to static magnetic fields via the radical pair mechanism may explain therapeutic effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields, PLoS ONE, December 2020, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0243038.
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