physical problems in magnetobiology, electromagnetobiology, and electromagnetic biophysics
by V.N. Binhi
473 pages, 165 figures, Preface, 5 Chapters, Addenda, Bibliography (700), Index, and Glossary, ISBN: 0121000710
The book gives a thorough review of virtually all relevant experimental data and theoretical concepts and looks into them from the viewpoint of theoretical physics. It also discusses all major modern hypotheses on the physical nature of magnetobiological effects and brings out some problems that still await solution. The Russian edition of the book was issued by MILTA publishing house, Moscow, in 2002. The foreword was written by the late Professor A.M. Prokhorov, Physics Nobel Prize Winner.
Magnetobiology is a new domain of scientific knowledge. It is multidisciplinary in nature with various sciences, from physics to medicine, contributing to it. But its core is biophysics. In the last few decades magnetobiology has seen substantial growth. However the science still contains a number of problems that have not been solved for a long time. Magnetobiology has no underlying theoretical and general physical concepts, and no predictive theoretical models. This is all due to the fact that the energies of weak low frequency magnetic fields are incompatible with the energy scale of biochemical conversions. Nevertheless, as has been shown in many experiments, such magnetic fields affect many biological systems. Long-term observations indicate that some electromagnetic fields affect humans to no lesser degree than ambient temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure. In addition to natural electromagnetic background fields, levels of fields of industrial origin rise every year. Therefore, the study of the physical mechanisms of biological effects of electromagnetic fields becomes more and more important.
Introduction gives a concise overview of the domain of electromagnetobiology. A historical review is followed by some important facts that connect magnetobiology to social human life, human health, the power industry and uses of electric appliances. The points of view of various people are set against each other. It is shown that a reason behind the difference of opinion is the absence of reliable physical explanations for the observed bio-effects.
Biological effects of TV and computer monitors, home appliances, power lines, mobile phones, magnetic storms, etc., are discussed in light of occupational and residential diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular abnormalities, and general stress. Some data on typical levels of electric and magnetic fields, as well as electromagnetic backgrounds are given.
The reader is exposed to the fundamentals of magnetobiology, with appropriate terminology, concepts and reference frequency and power ranges explained. The very intensity of studies in the area reflects the universal concern about possible harmful effects. Therefore, statistics are given on conferences held in the last decade throughout the world. Different international scientific projects are described.
The thermal effect of electromagnetic fields is considered, which is today the only well-known effect used for the development of electromagnetic safety standards. Other general quantum effects are shown to cause non-thermal biological effects that display resonance-like behavior. Levels of magnetic and electric fields are indicated at which such effects may be expected. These are compared with the electromagnetic background, suggesting that existing safety standards are inadequate.
Review of Experimental Results catalogues biological responses to an electromagnetic field and reviews a wealth of pertinent experimental evidence on the primary physical processes of magnetoreception. It focuses on dose and frequency dependences of biological effects of weak magnetic, electric and electromagnetic fields. The experimental results reviewed are grouped by the physical mechanisms involved.
Theoretical Models of MBE, as its name implies, introduces the reader to an array of theoretical models and hypotheses on the physical nature of the magnetobiological effect (MBE) — a generic term to designate any magnetic field-dependence of any biological object. The chapter begins with a classification of all known physical mechanisms and provides mathematical models for some of them. It goes on to give detailed descriptions and assessments of the mechanisms and their applied value. Weak and strong aspects are discussed and some calculations are performed. The models and mechanisms are classified with respect to the level of their phenomenological, macroscopic or microscopic descriptions. Much attention is paid to the microscopic mechanisms, which are shown to hold special promise for practical magnetobiology. Quantum treatments are given to some of them, specifically to the so-called “kT-problem”. It is shown that such models can be used to predict complex multi-peak biological dependences on the parameters of a magnetic field.
Interference of Bound Ions, which is largely devoted to the author’s own findings, considers a wide variety of electrical and magnetic conditions of ion dynamics within protein cavities. For most ions of biological relevance, even at room temperature, the de Broglie wavelengths are of the order of their radii and the size of cavity. At the atomic level, ions display quantum properties. The interference has been described between quantum states of ions bound in a binding cavity, based on the solution of the Schroedinger equation. Many parameters of the magnetic field are shown to determine the appearance of MBE. The findings provide a foundation for experiments.
Prospects of Electro- and Magnetobiology looks into how the idea of ion interference can be extended to cover other effects concerned with magnetobiology — the biological activity of electromagnetically treated water and the biological effects of microwave irradiation. The author gives an explanation, a model based on ion-molecular interference. The model predicts both the frequency and amplitude spectra and effects of circularly polarized microwaves. A review is also given of some general ideas on coherent states of living matter in quantum-field treatment. The author suggests a concept of the “molecular interfering gyroscope”, which is thought to lead to a solution of the “kT-problem” in magnetobiology. The final section summarizes the unsolved problems in magnetobiology and their proposed solutions.
Addenda provides several mathematical descriptions of the physical notions for the advanced reader. They cover magnetic resonance, the Frohlich and Davydov models, and the Josephson effects, among others. This is a comprehensive review of a large body of evidence.