Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Researcher Claims Magnets Can Affect Blood Viscosity

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the degaussing-or-leeching-or-both? dept.

Medicine 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.

cancel ×

175 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

subtle issues (4, Insightful)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323224)

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:subtle issues (2)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323342)

Just as anecdotal evidence, I used to hang around huge-ass magnets all the time. NMR spectrometers are in the order of magnitude of the fields discussed here. Haven't had any ill effects so far, except for erasing a couple of credit cards.

Re:subtle issues (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323362)

You didn't develop superpowers? Man, that's a letdown.

Re:subtle issues (2)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323452)

Tried it all, man - magnets, radiation, toxic chemicals, gene manipulation. Nothing. Well, I might have become Nerdman in the progress, but, well....

Re:subtle issues (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323672)

I had a friend who got hit by lightening and all it did was kill him. And so far not ONE supervillain, superhero, or giant fire-breathing lizard has come out of Fukushima. Not even ONE.

Fucking lying comic books.

Re:subtle issues (2)

gnick (1211984) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323940)

...not ONE supervillain, superhero, or giant fire-breathing lizard has come out of Fukushima.

That's exactly what they want you to think Stuff like this happens all the time in Japan - You really think Godzilla was just some dude in a lizard suit?? Get real.

Re:subtle issues (1)

Conditioner (1405031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323952)

How do you know ? maybe TEPCO is covering something up, thats why they took so long to respond!

Re:subtle issues (3, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323448)

We have a 3T (and 7.1T) at work; research devices. I get woozy when moving through the field. Fine when I'm still but nearly vomiticious when moving.

Re:subtle issues (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323480)

Interesting. Never felt anything - and with the older ones, also in the 3T range, i used to crawl around right below them for calibration daily. Completely unrelated, but may I ask what your field of research is?

Re:subtle issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323652)

It's called Vestibular something-or-other. It's not too uncommon. Caused by the inner ear being messed about with as you move through the field.

I'm a network/admin geek, not a researcher. We make more :)

Re:subtle issues (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323534)

Are you a Cylon?

Re:subtle issues (2)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323756)

My astrophysics prof claimed that magnets of that strength could make you see colors.

Have you been checked for Hemachromatosis or other blood/iron disorders?

Re:subtle issues (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323866)


I was going for an iron check but my blood threw the GPS off and I couldn't find the clinic.

Re:subtle issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323800)

sounds like electromagnetic induction to me.

Re:subtle issues (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324060)

Um, they only turned the magnet's lights on to make people think it was running. The magnet itself isn't on, hypochondriac.

Re:subtle issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36324110)

Many (most?) MRIs have a permanent field unless the nitrogen &| helium is quenched (dumped).

Re:subtle issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36324198)

He's not a hypochondriac. I can distinctly feel the vector field change strength within 20' of the local hospital's MRI machine. It's uncomfortable to be near it, seen or not. This makes sense since iron is magnetic and all over your bloodstream. I can also hear when a CRT display is on when others can't. Those old Apple ][ monitors are deafening.

Re:subtle issues (4, Informative)

robotkid (681905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324386)

Back when I was doing biomolecular NMR research, I would regularly have to crawl under a 16.4 T magnet to calibrate the pulse sequences. All the fillings in my mouth would ache like I was getting my first set of braces in middle-school again. Freaky.

Back to TFA - only an abstract is posted, so I can't read about the proposed mechanism, but as all the people who work with MRI's have pointed out this amount of effect on blood viscosity at such a "low" field strength is hard to imagine unless there is something unusual about the shape or duration of the pulse that makes it substantially different from the static field in an MRI. Previous work with static fields has shown maybe a 1% change at 1T field strengths, with the more significant, 15-20% changes not evident until 5T or so (which is much higher than a typical clinical-use MRI, although some research MRIs certainly are in this range)

see fig 5 of this article if you have institutional access for the work cited above http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030488530001249X [sciencedirect.com]

similarly, the WHO summary of health effects of exposure to magnetic fields only cautions against cardiovascular effects for fields > 8T http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs299/en/index.html [who.int]

Re:subtle issues (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323388)

Yeah: "drug free" as if drugs are somehow "bad," and this is somehow a positive. "But drugs have complications!" will be some people's response; so can any treatment. In general, with power comes responsibility: if it has the power to effect your body enough to heal it, then it stands to reason it may have enough power to hurt it (especially if abused). Same thing applies to the whole "natural" craze.

Re:subtle issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323782)

But, this natural wolf's bane and nightshade is supposed to cure everything!

They guy said just take it and all my problems would be over, naturally.

Re:subtle issues (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324128)

Drug-free is actually a good option to have in this case. When someone is in the hospital, they are often loaded up with drug cocktails, and the fewer additional medications you have to use the better, to reduce possible side reactions.

Like the one that makes antibiotics interfere with birth control [wikipedia.org] .

Re:subtle issues (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324300)

Don't ignore the side effects of a 1.5T magnet when you have metal implants in your private places that you didn't tell the doctor about.

Re:subtle issues (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323394)

It does make sense, though -- blood is red because of the iron content, so it stands to reason that it could be magnetic.

Interestingly, my dad (now 80 and retired) was an electrical lineman for 40 years and could never wear a wrist watch. He was apparently magnetized by the magnetic fields from the high voltage (90kv on the towers he worked on) because they'd stop two or three days after he bought one, even though he didn't wear them to work.

Aspirin works well to lower blood pressure, if you can take it. Besides aspirin and other drugs there's yoga and other non-drug activities that will lower blood pressure, as well. Me, I don't have that problem. My blood pressure has always measured either normal or a little low. So this has only academic interest to me.

Re:subtle issues (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323680)

It makes no sense. You believe that all the blood vessels and capillaries of the heart are lined up in parallel, do you? This might theoretically increase blood flow to some blood vessels, while hampering flow to others.

Re:subtle issues (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323918)

You believe that all the blood vessels and capillaries of the heart are lined up in parallel, do you?

No, but if you subject a bunch of iron filings to a magnetic field they'll line up in predictable patterns. Belief? No. Hypothesis? Possibly.

Re:subtle issues (1)

immakiku (777365) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324090)

The idea is that if they're chained together in the direction of flow they have less probability of hampering with each others' flow. But if they're lined up perpendicular to the flow wouldn't that just cause a clog?

Re:subtle issues (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36324164)

[His watches would] stop two or three days after he bought one

Tell him he needs to wind them.

Prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323242)

...And immediately goes into business making magnetic bracelets.

Too late (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323410)

You can already buy them from your local bullshit medicine shop, they're nothing new. But maybe they weren't so bullshitty after all?

Re:Too late (1)

undecim (1237470) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323600)

I seriously doubt those are powerful enough to see any medical effects from their use. It's like the vitamin content in Vitamin Water and Sobe drinks: A good thing, but not nearly enough of it

Re:Prediction (4, Insightful)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323450)

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.

Re:Prediction (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323930)

First man: That's disgusting!

Second man: Excuse me, I'm just wearing a very strong magnetic bracelet.

First man: [scowl] Good day, sir.

Second man: No, good day to YOU, sir!

Re:Prediction (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323468)

Magnetic bracelets can do 1.3 tesla now? Awesome.

Magnets? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323254)

I didn't RTFA, but does it explain exactly how they work?

Re:Magnets? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323354)

You got me to go ahead and at least glance at TFA, which confirmed my guess: it pulls on the iron in your hemoglobin, making your red blood cells line up.

Re:Magnets? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323426)

But I don't wanna talk to a scientist!

Re:Magnets? (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323548)

What are you, a Mormon?

Re:Magnets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323830)

Huh? May just be missing something, but what in the world does that have with anything in this article / thread?

Re:Magnets? (1)

linuxwolf69 (1996104) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324478)

Know your meme....

Re:Magnets? (2)

taylor (11728) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324086)

The hemoglobin in your red blood cells is reasonably paramagnetic; under the application of a large magnetic field it will produce a magnetic dipole. I suspect that the effect they are describing arises when two red blood cells get near each other. Then, the magnetic field from the induced dipole in the hemoglobin gets them to line up, much like what happens with pairs of refrigerator magnets when you bring them close. This grows into a longer and longer chain, until brownian motion overcomes the weak binding induced. The resulting chains of hemoglobin flow past each other more easily than individual particles, so long as they maintain their narrow aspect along the flow direction. The benefit claimed in the article thus pertains primarily to flow along the magnetic field's axis, where the external field keeps them oriented along its axis.

It is unclear what the metabolic effects of such chains are in practical settings--for example, how well oxygen exchange will occur with much of the cell membrane locked up against adjacent cells. Also, perpendicular flow may have a lower or higher viscosity as the unmagnetized sample (though the article is not available for reading yet, so I can only infer that it is still a bit lower due to the statements in the news release-ish article that the effect persists for some time after the magnet is turned off).

Mobile Electronics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323290)

Just don't have your smartphone on you when you go into the machine.

Alex Chiu (0)

Rary (566291) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323294)

It's just a matter of time before everyone realizes that Alex Chiu [alexchiu.com] is right! :)

Re:Alex Chiu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323398)

Nope he's still a quack, the magnet they used in this article is (slightly) stronger than the rare-earth ones you find in hard drive platters, and weighed a little under a thousand pounds. His magic bracelets are still utter rubbish, useful only for separating morons from their hard earned money. hth

Re:Alex Chiu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323962)

I'd be more inclined to purchase this fine product if he had patented it in the 1800s...

An MRI (1)

glorybe (946151) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323312)

I wonder why this is not evident after an MRI.

Re: An MRI (1)

KClaisse (1038258) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323552)

I would think the effect itself would dissipate quickly after the magnetic field is turned off or removed from the subject.

Re: An MRI (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323762)

I would think the effect itself would dissipate quickly after the magnetic field is turned off or removed from the subject.

Yeah, like 30 minutes or so, just like it says in TFA.

Re: An MRI (2)

KClaisse (1038258) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323898)

Close enough without needing to read it, that's good enough for me.

Re: An MRI (2)

buswolley (591500) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323628)

Because it wasn't tested. The more astute question is, how does this change our interpretation of fMRI?

Re: An MRI (4, Interesting)

necro81 (917438) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323904)

I'm skeptical. Most clinical MRI scanners have a main field strength around 0.7-1.5 Tesla. If the effect these researchers claim is so significant (lowering viscosity by 30%), then I think that we would have seen a huge number of internal bleeds, ischemic events, etc. associated with undergoing a scan. I (who have worked in hospital settings and around MRI scanners as part of my work) have never heard any evidence like that, even anecdotal. The evidence of the last two decades of MRI use indicate that exposure to the magnetic field has no significant effect on the body.

Re: An MRI (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323808)

Last time I had an MRI it was extremely noisy, so I suspect the field wasn't 100% constant. (Could be wrong, or there are different kinds of MRI, I'm old enough that it was called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance)

Re: An MRI (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324016)

They changed the name because the word "Nuclear" scares people.

And because the principle of NMR can be used without imaging anything.

And probably to score a trademark.

1.3 Tesla you say? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323328)

Grandpa has high blood pressure and he can't afford his medicine.

Hey kids, go get that box of 300 refrigerator magnets he gave you for your birthday!

MRI (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323330)

Assuming it's true, is there a concern that an MRI might cause blood thinning when it isn't needed? Is it possible for your blood to be too thin? Might it accelerate bleeding?

Re:MRI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323492)

Likely not. Traditional blood thinners are actually anti-coagulants, and chemically prevent blood from clotting. From what I've been able to find, this simply aligns blood cells, reducing viscosity and allowing for easier flow. Such a formation shouldn't hamper the formation of clots at injury sites.

But I'm not a doctor.

Re:MRI (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324034)

But I'm not a doctor.

Hmmmm...I'm not either (not the medical variety at least), but you might be right.

strength of magnetic fields for perspective (4, Informative)

yincrash (854885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323372)

Smallest value in a magnetically shielded room 10^-14 Tesla 10^-10 Gauss
Interstellar space 10^-10 Tesla 10^-6 Gauss
Earth's magnetic field 0.00005 Tesla 0.5 Gauss
Small bar magnet 0.01 Tesla 100 Gauss
Within a sunspot 0.15 Tesla 1500 Gauss
Small NIB magnet 0.2 Tesla 2000 Gauss
Big electromagnet 1.5 Tesla 15,000 Gauss
Strong lab magnet 10 Tesla 100,000 Gauss
Surface of neutron star 100,000,000 Tesla 10^12 Gauss
Magstar 100,000,000,000 Tesla 10^15 Gauss
from http://www.coolmagnetman.com/magflux.htm [coolmagnetman.com]

Must be junk science (2)

Lyrata (1900038) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323396)

Another researcher lying, and gettin' me pissed. I mean, fucking magnets... how do they work?

Re:Must be junk science (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323446)

Miracles of course.

Re:Must be junk science (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323532)

You can't explain that!

Re:Must be junk science (1)

Kemanorel (127835) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323570)

I don't know... Go ask the Mormons [mormon.org] .

;-)

Re:Must be junk science (1)

jdastrup (1075795) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323722)

Yes, ask the Mormons, because they are the only ones that believe in miracles, and magnets.

Re:Must be junk science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323772)

I'm mormon and the first thing that came to mind was "There's a lot of iron in the blood, makes sense."

Re:Must be junk science (1)

Dynetrekk (1607735) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323842)

Oh god I want to go there and "ask a missionary" about the missionary position. I'm sorry, I can't help myself.

Re:Must be junk science (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324044)

Yeah, I'll bet they've never heard that one before...

Magicians = authority figures... how exactly? (2)

Yaddoshi (997885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323470)

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?

Re:Magicians = authority figures... how exactly? (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323538)

How exactly did Penn & Teller become the deciding factor on whether magnets are beneficial to health?

Mythbusters marked that as "Confirmed". You can't get more scientific than that.

Re:Magicians = authority figures... how exactly? (3, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#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).

Re:Magicians = authority figures... how exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323760)

What matters more is the veracity of an argument, not who gives it.
I think this is one of the true failings of the American voting public, FWIW. I remember with a chill the many times I'd talk to someone about W during his term, for example. Didn't he once say it was better to be wrong but head strong than to be open to change and eventually correct? Politically speaking, this may be true. But it's about as unscientific and unreasonable (in the literal sense) as you can get.

Magicians = authority figures on deception (5, Insightful)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323858)

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...

Re:Magicians = authority figures on deception (1)

Lemming42 (931274) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324326)

Being a magician and a skeptic often go hand-in-hand, Houdini was well-famed as both. One of his main focuses was people purporting to talk to the spirit world. I believe he even went so far as offer a personal reward for someone who could show proof of someone communicating with the dead.

Re:Magicians = authority figures on deception (1)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324404)

Being a magician and a skeptic often go hand-in-hand, Houdini was well-famed as both. One of his main focuses was people purporting to talk to the spirit world. I believe he even went so far as offer a personal reward for someone who could show proof of someone communicating with the dead.

James Randi's foundation offers a million dollar prize to anyone who can show ESP or other "spirit" powers in a double-blind test. No-one has yet to actually apply and follow through. They usually back out at the last second and claim the test is flawed.

Re:Magicians = authority figures on deception (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324466)

Of course they do. When everything the psychic does you know how to do and have done to random strangers it wouldn't have quite the same impact.

And no I can't do any of those things, Penn & Teller do the cup and balls trick with transparent cups and it still looks like they have super powers to me...

Only for a few hours (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323550)

According to the article, this effects only lasts for a few hours. How is that a viable replacement for taking an Aspirin pill ?

Re:Only for a few hours (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323632)

Well, for just about 500k you can get that 1.5 T cryomagnet set up right in your home. The running costs for LN2 and LHe are negligible... Save that aspirin money, sleep in the MRI machine...

Re:Only for a few hours (2)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323738)

Going to the hardware store to buy some nails, while carrying a 1.5T magnet, becomes a whole different exercise, though.

Re:Only for a few hours (4, Interesting)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323824)

Tell me about it. Had some asshat janitor walk into our lab one day, carrying his leather tool bag, despite of all the huge-ass warning signs. The thing of course got ripped out of his hands and stuck to the magnet casing when he came too close. Had the pleasure of removing the contents - including a couple of hundred nails and screws - piece by piece. The magnet survived, at least. Just slightly dented and some of the shim coils where shot.

Re:Only for a few hours (1)

xclr8r (658786) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323880)

Aspirin takes time to be effective. This would work in fast situations until the aspirin starts kicking in. I'd imagine there would be an application for this for stop gap treatment of stroke victims but would "require more studiesâ".

Re:Only for a few hours (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324098)

This only works fast if you happen to be near a 1.5T magnet. Aspirin will start working in about half an hour, and if you're in medical emergency, I would expect there's something that can be injected intravenously to work even faster.

Re:Only for a few hours (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324064)

How long does an Aspirin pill last?

Re:Only for a few hours (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324134)

Aspirin's blood thinning effects last several days. For somebody suffering elevated risk of heart attacks, taking one pill per day is sufficient to obtain protection.

Magneto is the researcher (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323572)

Researcher also claims that a high magnetic field can rip out all of the iron in your blood cells and used as a weapon to escape from an impenetrable prison cell.

Prevent heart attacks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323636)

How would you use a treatment that requires a 1000 lb. 1.3 Tesla magnet every few hours to prevent heart attacks? Driving back and forth to the hospital that many times a day probably increases your risk of dying in a car crash more than it reduces your risk of a heart attack.

This makes the blood cells form chains in the direction of the magnetic field. When the chains get long enough, wouldn't they then fail to flow and/or block any blood vessel that's perpendicular? If you use this on an artery, does blood flow worsen in the corresponding vein? If you used this on your forearm, wouldn't all the cells or chains try to flip over on the return trip, as the magnetic field will be in the opposite direction? I would think that would slow it down. If so, your hand would swell with all the blood that is fast to get there and slow to leave.

I don't see how this is practical, but maybe I'm missing something.

Re:Prevent heart attacks? (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323812)

you don't have those magnets at home and at work?

Re:Prevent heart attacks? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323818)

I don't see how this is practical, but maybe I'm missing something.

It may be useful for getting more research grants. If you could somehow hook it up with sharks and lasers, you might get some funding from DARPA.

Re:Prevent heart attacks? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324116)

Heart attacks are transient. You only need to thin the blood to let it flow around a clot long enough for something else to dissolve the clot. Or just long enough for the clot to loosen and move somewhere other than the heart. Like the brain--wait, that's not good. Or deeper into the cardiac arteries--wait, that's not good either.

So in 2 out of 3 cases, this is just going to make it worse.

Re:Prevent heart attacks? (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324340)

Thinning the blood (really, lowering the ability to clot quickly) also helps to prevent future heart attacks.

And having the clot move deeper into the cardiac arteries is pretty good. The smaller the artery becomes, the less tissue it feeds, and the smaller the area of damage.

Re:Prevent heart attacks? (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324192)

It's practical when you are already in the hospital because you had one heart attack or stroke and are at extremely high risk for another in the following 72 hours.

Rare Earth Magnets (2)

realsilly (186931) | more than 3 years ago | (#36323648)

I have a couple Rare Earth Magnets. They have a very strong magnetic pull. So I figure I'll just run them up and down my body. It could be fun.

Re:Rare Earth Magnets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36324290)

cool story bro

I want to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323678)

How do magnets work?

Re:I want to know (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324480)

didn't you see the Penn & Teller video? They don't. ;P

LoB

Viscosity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36323820)

According to the article the viscosity is not changing only the flow rate. There's an important distinction. Changing the viscosity requires a chemical change to the blood physical composition, this is simply increasing volumetric flow by creating a more laminar fluid. The effect described here is actually old news, as it is the fundamental basis of operation for every MRI machine.

Doesn't make sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36324216)

The flow of blood is so turbulent that the cells would become disordered as soon as the magnetic field was removed.

Discovery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36324242)

Isn't this basic principal how an MRI works?

Sounds reasonable (1)

Technomancer (51963) | more than 3 years ago | (#36324250)

Since there is quite a bit of iron the the blood and it has magnetic properties.
Similar effects are used in Corvette's active suspension http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_suspension

Fundamental misunderstanding of magnetic moments (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36324264)

These guys should have talked to a biophysicist before they stated talking about this in public. A hemoglobin complex holds 4 individual iron cations, in four pockets that are pretty far apart from each other. On top of that, the whole hemoglobin molecule is tumbling around inside red blood cells, without any physical attachment to the cell membrane or cytoskeleton. The magnetic moment of an iron atom is the net result of its electrons orbiting the nucleus, the orientation of the electron orbitals and the nuclear spin, all of which tumble pretty randomly. You only get macro ferrormagnetic behaviour when a bunch of iron atoms are locked right next to each other in a rigid lattice structure, like a crystal of magnetite.

Even if you could align all the iron magnetic moments in hemoglobin, you probably wouldn't be able to get the hemoglobin to aggregate, it would just tumble a bit differently. You certainly wouldn't have any observable mechanical effect on red blood cells. Red Blood Cells are however very sensitive to mechanical pumps. It you mechanically force them through a relatively small aperture (like you would to measure viscosity), they would probably start to coagulate (clump together) until the pressure let off, in which case they would fall apart again.

Since they stored the blood in the fridge for some time and didn't end up with one giant ball of clot, they obviously had an anticoagulant mixed in too, which would impact what they observed (namely that the cells fell apart again some time after they stopped pumping).

Talk to a biophysicist next time guys!

implications for fMRI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36324270)

what might this mean for neuroscientists who use changes in cranial blood flow to index brain activity while subjects are in a usually >= 3 Tesla field? would brain regions demanding more oxygen/glucose require blood over a longer time span if the substance is thinned out?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?