Understanding conditions for which biological effects of nonionizing electromagnetic fields can be expected
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.