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Medicine Science

Researcher Claims Magnets Can Affect Blood Viscosity 175

BuzzSkyline writes "A few minutes in a high magnetic field (1.3 Tesla) is enough to thin blood by 30%, potentially leading to a new drug-free therapy to prevent heart attacks. The powerful field causes blood cells to line up in chains that flow much more easily than randomly-scattered individual cells, according to research scheduled to appear this month in the journal Physical Review E." I can't help thinking of Penn & Teller's look at magnets-as-medicine, though at least the idea here described sounds testable and doesn't rely on the power of suggestion.
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Researcher Claims Magnets Can Affect Blood Viscosity

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  • subtle issues (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NetSettler ( 460623 ) * <> on Thursday June 02, 2011 @02:43PM (#36323224) Homepage Journal
    As a treatment in an emergency to quickly resolve a bad situation on a temporary basis, it sounds fine. As a therapy to hold back trouble, it sounds less fine. Not that the same isn't perhaps true of aspirin in some ways but since one can quantify the effect here and since one might not see as many negatives, I predict this will get used with less reservation than aspirin. What holds people back from using aspirin more is the fear of side-effects, but if you were assuming there were fewer to this, you might be inclined to lean more heavily on this one's stated capacity limitations. It eliminates a margin for error such that if a person really regularly took advantage of it, they'd be well over the maximum limit and any failure to use the magnets would sound fatal. Moreover, it won't surprise me if it creates some situation in which a bunch of aligned things, while normally they work well, can also create unexpected kinds of clots or other problems not previously possible to create in more chaotic systems. It certainly doesn't sound as glowingly positive to me as a term like "drug-free therapy" is supposed to imply. It sounds more like the potential pitfalls are hidden in different places, like the way nuclear radiation is "drug-free". Not that we're talking radiation effects here, but we're definitely not talking automatically safer than drugs, either.
  • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by History's Coming To ( 1059484 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @03:01PM (#36323450) Journal
    If you can get a bracelet to produce a 1.3 Tesla field I think hawking them as alternative medicine will be the last thing on your mind. And if you did the lawsuits would soon start rolling in from people who've had their hands ripped off by passing cars.
  • by RightSaidFred99 ( 874576 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @03:14PM (#36323626)
    Easy - transparency and at least an attempt to adhere to the scientific method. If Paris Hilton did a special on how homeopathy is bunk and did it using facts, reason, and evidence she'd be credible (on that matter).
  • by Jabrwock ( 985861 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @03:33PM (#36323858) Homepage

    The art of deception and misdirection is all part of a magician's trade. How exactly did Penn & Teller become the deciding factor on whether magnets are beneficial to health?

    They don't claim to be. They do however, claim to be the masters of the art of deception and misdirection. The whole idea of their TV show was "it takes a thief to catch a thief", namely someone well versed in deception and misdirection has a better chance of spotting when someone ELSE is using those same techniques to sell, say refrigerator magnets as medical cures...

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.