It sounds like something out of a futuristic science fiction movie or cooked up in Dr. Frankenstein’s lab, but scientists at the University of Iowa say it just might work. They’re talking about treating diabetes with electromagnetic fields.
In an article just published in the journal Cell Metabolism, authors Calvin Carter, PhD, and Sunny Huang, an MD/PhD student, describe how they discovered, almost by accident, how electromagnetic fields (EMFs) change the balance of oxidants and antioxidants in the liver, which improves the body’s response to insulin.
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It began when Huang decided she needed to practice taking blood from mice and measuring their blood sugar levels. Carter, it so happened, had some lab mice available for her to borrow from experiments he’d been conducting on the effect of EMFs on the rodents’ brains and behavior. The mice also had a genetic modification that caused them to develop diabetes.
Huang discovered that, despite the genetic modification, the EMF-exposed mice had normal blood sugar levels. As she expressed it, “It was really odd because normally these animals have high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes, but all of the animals exposed to EMFs showed normal blood sugar levels. I told Calvin, ‘There’s something weird going on here.’”
It was something that begged to be explored further. Carter and Huang teamed up with Val Sheffield, MD, and E. Dale Abel, MD, both of the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa, and ran more experiments. They observed that the application of static magnetic and electric fields modulated the blood sugar in three mouse models of type 2 diabetes. Further, the treatment reversed insulin resistance after just three days of treatment.
To try to determine why this effect was happening, the researchers reviewed sources on electromagnetic fields going back decades and noted that it’s well established that migrating birds use the Earth’s electromagnetic field for navigational purposes. “The literature,” Carter said, “pointed to a quantum biological phenomenon whereby EMFs may interact with specific molecules. There are molecules in our body that are thought to act like tiny magnetic antennae, enabling a biological response to EMFs. Some of these molecules are oxidants, which are studied in redox biology, an area of research that deals with the behavior of electrons and reactive molecules that govern cellular metabolism.” They then conducted experiments that indicated that EMFs affect what are known as superoxide molecules, especially those in the liver. This effect in turn causes a response that rebalances the body’s response to insulin. As Carter explained, “When we remove superoxide molecules from the liver, we completely block the effect of the EMFs on blood sugar and in the insulin response. The evidence suggests that superoxide plays an important role in this process.”
The next step will be to test the effect of EMFs on larger animals, ones more similar to humans, and then proceed to clinical trials with diabetes patients. To that end, Carter and other researchers have founded a company called Geminii Health to explore the possibilities. According to a company statement, “The human body possesses molecules that act like tiny antennae. With the right electromagnetic signals, these molecules can be remotely controlled, enabling the wireless interface of devices with biology… We use electromagnetic signals to remotely take control of metabolism, the fundamental cellular process by which cells extract energy from the environment. We believe that the use of electromagnetic signals to control metabolism will revolutionize the way we treat disease. Geminii’s solution is to simplify therapy by introducing the first non-invasive therapy for diabetes.”