Do you know that magnets can keep blood flowing?
I know you didn’t expect that. We come into contact with magnets many times every day in the course of our daily lives. You’ve seen them in your refrigerator, television, radio, and host of other applications. You know for certain they play an important role in your devices but it never crossed your behind that these magnets may have a role to play in our health.
Well, since the turn of the 21st century, inventors and scientists have been making groundbreaking discoveries in virtually every sector – trade, labor, education, social life, and in medicine. The new discovery of how magnetic field affects blood can be the beginning of a host of other uses of magnets for improving our health.
Can Magnetics Affect the Flow of Blood?
Two physicists Rongjia Tao of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and medical physicist Ke Huang of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, while researching on innovative ways to prevent heart attacks and strokes made a remarkable discovery. The two physicists discovered that strong magnetic fields can dramatically reduce the thickness or viscosity of blood flowing through a tube.
The discovery led them to believe that scientists might one day develop a magnetic alternative to medicines designed to keep blood flowing in humans if this effect holds for blood veins and arteries.
Since the discovery, many scientists working on this theory have come to believe that exposing an individual to a magnetic field could reduce his risk of heart attack. This can only happen by streamlining the flow of blood around the patient’s body.
Why Do Scientists Believe Magnetic Field Could Reduce Heart Attack?
In our industrialized world, heart attacks and strokes are the two leading causes of death. These two problems are often linked to high blood viscosity. According to the previously known study, thicker blood damages blood vessels. The body builds up fatty deposits when trying to repair the damages done to the blood vessels, this problem makes heart attacks and strokes more likely. Should this discovery turn out to be the real thing, magnets could potentially turn out to be a replacement for other drugs such as aspirin currently used in inhibiting the tendency of blood to clot. Of course, this is not the same magnets as the one you see in your television and other devices.
It is important to note that this discovery is still far from being perfect. It could take some time before you can actually see it in real life application because it still faces a lot of obstacles.
Understanding How Magnetic Field Affects Blood Flow
Since the first test was done in a tube, many scientists are still trying to understand how magnets affect the flow of blood. This is because it is a widely known fact that we came into magnets in our everyday life without any known effect (positive or negative).
Rongjia and Ke Huang expanding on their discovery, arranged components to allow blood flow in the same direction as the magnetic field lines. This study revealed that blood viscosity could reduce by as much as 20% to 30% within just one minute in a tool inside an electromagnet producing a field of about 1.3 tesla. The effect lasted 2 hours. Unfortunately, the viscosity went back up to its original value afterward.
In a recent study by R, R., Sunny, S., Balakrishnan, D., Paul, P., & Menon, D. (2017), they tried to understand the effects of static magnetic field on blood sample by exposing it to a non-uniform static magnetic field of 0.35T. Using a spectrophotometer, they plotted curves between wavelength and transmittance T% and discovered a change in the nature of these curves caused by magnetization of blood and increase in energy of blood due to the magnetic field. This led the researchers to believe that the exposure to the magnetic field has an effect on the blood.
Obstacle to the Theory
Like I mentioned above, you shouldn’t get your hopes up yet. This study could still take years to become perfect. Right now, there is no guarantee that the discovery could be applied in real life. It should be noted that this is not the first claim of applications of magnets in health in history.
One major problem with the research is that the study was done in a straight tube. Of course, arteries in living organisms are far from being straight or parallel. This is no doubt, a limiting factor in apply the study to living organisms.
Another problem is that the effect of magnets leads to clumping together of red blood cells, in a line, just like boxcars on a train. This could pose a problem when applied to a person. During the test, the tube used was large enough to allow these clumped cells to pass through, but actual capillaries in humans are only large enough to allow red cells to flow through single file. Unless scientists find a way to resolve this, there could be a problem with capillary flow.
There are other problems surrounding the theory. Of course, just like every new theory, these obstacles are normal and more studies may reveal ways to overcome them.
The study that magnets could be used to reduce the risk of heart attack and other health problems is indeed a very interesting one. There is no doubt that this study holds a lot of potential and more studies need to be done on this theory to ascertain how this can be applied in humans in future. But for now, it still remains a theory, one that faces many challenges that scientists and researchers need to overcome to make it have clinical application.