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Magnetobiology is an approach in radiobiology of non-ionizing radiation; the line of investigation in biophysics that studies biological effects of mainly weak static and low-frequency magnetic fields, which do not cause heating of tissues. Magnetobiology corresponds to somewhat more general term bioelectromagnetics, which should not be mixed up with the term bioelectromagnetism.
Magnetobiological effects have unique features that obviously distinguish them from thermal effects: often they are observed for alternating magnetic fields just in separate frequency and amplitude intervals. Also, they are dependent of simultaneously present static magnetic or electric fields and their polarization.
Additional recommended knowledge
It should be noted that the results of magnetobiological experiments are on the whole poorly reproducible. Some 10–20% of publications report failed attempts to observe magnetobiological effects. In the majority of experiments, their success depended on a rare happy coincidence of suitable electromagnetic and physiological conditions. Many of the experiments await confirmation by independent studies in other laboratories.
Practical significance of magnetobiology is conditioned on the ever growing level of the background electromagnetic exposure of people. Years of experience have shown that some electromagnetic fields may pose a threat to human health and should be considered on an equal footing with such important climatic factors as atmospheric pressure, temperature, and humidity.
Present electromagnetic safety standards, worked out by many national and international institutions, differ by tens and hundreds of times for certain EMF ranges; this situation reflects the lack of research in the area of magnetobiology and electromagnetobiology. Today, the most of the standards take into account biological effects just from heating by electromagnetic fields, and peripheral nerve stimulation from induced currents.
Electromagnetism in medical treatment
On the other hand, it is rapidly developing new technologies in the area of medical treatment by the use of relatively weak electromagnetic fields that exert just informational influence on the organism.
Possible causes of the effects
In magnetobiology, theory is lagging far behind experiment. The nature of biological effects of weak electromagnetic fields remains unclear as yet, despite numerous experimental data. The following suggested causes of magnetobiological phenomena are frequently discussed:
Explanation of the physical nature of biological effects of weak magnetic fields is a fundamental scientific problem.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Magnetobiology". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|