Author Topic: SGU 5x5 #96  (Read 1483 times)

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Offline Mike

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SGU 5x5 #96
« on: November 11, 2010, 09:42:15 PM »
Magnets
"We're just so damn exciting." - Dr. Steven Novella, MD

Offline wolfkeeper

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Re: SGU 5x5 #96
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2010, 09:15:40 AM »
OK, I completely agree with the general thrust of the program, magnets in the way they're used by quacks don't heal anything.

However, I did notice a couple of minor errors in the podcast.

1) haemoglobin actually is magnetic (!):

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v255/n5511/abs/255706a0.html

There is some research to see whether this effect can be used for medical purposes, but I don't have a clue whether there's any useful effect in vivo, although you can use it to separate red blood cells within equipment.

2) DNA has a magnetic moment also; i.e. DNA is magnetic

This is a bad thing. What happens is that if you put cells under a high (about one Tesla or more) strength magnetic field, the DNA has difficulty replicating- i.e. high strength magnetic fields seem to be a bit genotoxic.

But even with very strong magnets, it's a very weak effect, and handling magnets for a short time isn't likely to be any problem at all, and MRI scanners (which use VERY strong fields indeed) have health benefits that have to be weighed against any miniscule risks.

That's why in many countries there's actually industrial limits on the magnetic fields you can subject people to for any length of time, and the limits aren't all that high, I've got Halbach arrays that are well over that strength.

Anyway, great podcast!