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Understanding conditions for which biological effects of nonionizing electromagnetic fields can be expected
Weaver JC
Bioelectrochemistry 56(1-2): 207-209 May 15 2002

Scientific interest in the interaction of nonionizing electromagnetic fields with biological systems is longstanding, but often still controversial. Theories, models and computer simulations have usually emphasized physical interactions with subsystems (e.g. cell membranes) of a biological system. By extending this first necessary physical step to a second step of explicitly and quantitatively considering chemical changes, increased understanding appears possible. In the case of "strong fields", the role of field-altered chemistry is important to electrochemotherapy [Biochem. Pharmacol. 42, Suppl. (1991) 567] and creation of transdermal microconduits [Bioelectrochem. Bioenerg. 49 (1999) 11; J. Controlled Release 61 (1999) 185; J. Invest. Dermatol. 116 (2001) 40] For "weak fields" (atopic with much more controversy) consideration of chemical change shows that organized multicellular systems can be understood to respond to extremely small electric [Chaos 8 (1998) 576] or magnetic fields [Nature 405 (2000) 707]. In contrast, isolated individual cells interacting via voltage-gated channels [Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 92 (1995) 3740; Biophys. J. 75 (1998) 2251; Bioelectromagnetics 20 (1999) 102], or processes without "temperature compensation" [Biophys. J. 76 (1999) 3026], appear implausible. Satisfactory understanding is likely only if experimental and theoretical work is reconciled, which should therefore be emphasized. The interaction of electromagnetic fields with biological systems is of interest because of fundamental scientific curiosity, potential medical benefits and possible human health hazards.

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