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Using Electricity to Heal

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the frankenstein-approach-to-healing dept.

200

ganjadude writes to tell us that while the idea of using electricity to heal wounds was first reported 150 years ago by Emil Du Bois-Reymond, modern scientists may have found a way to practically apply this idea. From the article: "The researchers grew layers of mouse cells and larger tissues, such as corneas, in the lab. After 'wounding' these tissues, they applied varying electric fields to them, and found they could accelerate or completely halt the healing process depending on the orientation and strength of the field."

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1.21 gigawatts (4, Funny)

lecithin (745575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787095)

After 'wounding' these tissues, they applied varying electric fields to them, and found they could accelerate or
completely halt the healing process depending on the orientation and strength of the field.

"Hey Marty, lets start out with 1.21 gigawatts right about... Here."

"Interesting. It looks like that stopped the healing process."

"Hello... McFly?"

Re:1.21 gigawatts (2, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787111)

Actually, in this case, it would be McMouse, not McFly. Get your animals right. :-)

Re:1.21 gigawatts (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787635)

just don't do this while in a car going 88 MPH

Re:1.21 gigawatts (2, Funny)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787310)

And for those less technically oriented..that's pronouced "JIGGA-watts"

Re:1.21 gigawatts (1)

x2A (858210) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787513)

or "jy-gga", as in "gigantic", where the term apparently came from.

Re:1.21 gigawatts (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787802)

And for those less technically oriented..that's pronouced "JIGGA-watts"

That's only what the marketing people say to fool you into thinking you are getting more watts than you really do.

If you want to be technically correct you would use the ISO standard and say, "JEBI-watts."

I'm shocked! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787108)

Shocked, I tell you!

Doctor Frankenstein (2, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787150)

while the idea of using electricity to heal wounds was first reported 150 years ago by Emil Du Bois-Reymond, modern scientists may have found a way to practically apply this idea.

I hope this new method obviates the need for bolts in the neck.

Hey guys... (1)

plutonium83 (818340) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787110)

... watch this!
*sticks finger in socket*
NO CARRIER

Re:Hey guys... (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787135)

Well, the good news is that if you had cancer, you've stopped it from spreading.

Re:Hey guys... (2, Funny)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787198)

No, no, no! If you want to do the redneck thing right, the correct quote is, "Hey guys! Hold my beer a moment while I show you something cool!"

Re:Hey guys... (1)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787263)

jeeze man, get the vernacular right. A redneck would never say "a moment." The following would be more... appropriate:

Hey'all! Hold mah beer, big Jim. I'm a-gunna show ya sumpin cool!

Re:Hey guys... (2, Funny)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787769)

No, no, you're being far too verbose. The correct usage is:

Hey y'all! Watch this!

Should you ever hear such a statement, please be sure to run away as quickly as you can.

Re:Hey guys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787374)

I'm confused. Did he tell us he was hardcore first?

Magnets (1)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787118)

Maybe those people (idots) who kept strapping magnets to themselves knew something after all. Although given the findings it seems equally likely that they were impairing the healing process. (yes, I know the article is about electricity, electro-magnetism people)

Re:Magnets (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787177)

You are right about electromagnetism, but only in regards to Moving Magnets.

A stationary magnet does not create an electric field. And since everything is relative, Wearing a magnet on your wrist makes it stationary in comparison to your wrist, thus wearing magnets is pointless. QED.

Re:Magnets (2, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787276)

Blood keeps flowing though your hand, though.

Re:Magnets (3, Interesting)

aditi (707829) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787287)

... "And since everything is relative, Wearing a magnet on your wrist makes it stationary in comparison to your wrist, thus wearing magnets is pointless. QED. "

Actually, no. While it is true that the magnet is stationary w.r.t your wrist (or whichever part of your body), it is not stationary with respect to the moving ions that make up the electric current within the cells. The presence of the magnetic field will deflect the charges according to a force F = Charge * Field x Velocity. Charges coming in from further away might get deflected away from their original destination, allegedly altering the healing process.

So wearing magnets might not be pointless.

iDot? (1)

warith (121181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787565)

"(idots) who kept strapping magnets to themselves"

I am interested in this new Apple product you have mentioned, the iDot, and how it is affected by having magnets strapped to it. Where can I read more about it?

(Worst. Typo nitpick. Ever.)

Re:Magnets (1)

WCD_Thor (966193) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787658)

I think they were just fucking with the Iron in their blood, and getting a pleceabo (sp) effect.

How fun (3, Funny)

Alyks (798644) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787120)

Now when we cut our fingers building computers, we can just electocute ourselfs with the power cables!

Re:How fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787355)

and then we could read a book on general spelling and grammar.

Magnet_therapy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787121)

Does this mean that Magnet therapy [wikipedia.org] has a grain of truth in it?

Re:Magnet_therapy? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787352)

Sounds like megnet therapy would cause more harm than good. If red blood cells have iron in them, I can imagine megnets causing them to clot. Sounds bad...

Re:Magnet_therapy? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787455)

Sounds like megnet therapy would cause more harm than good. If red blood cells have iron in them, I can imagine megnets causing them to clot. Sounds bad...

The iron in blood is not large enough to have magnetic domains. If it were, you wouldn't just have to take off your watch when you got a MRI, you'd have to drain your blood, too. The only way wearing magnets would cause blood to clot would be if you wore spiky magnets that pokes holes in your skin, or maybe if they cut off your circulation. You have clearly watched X-Men too many times.

Re:Magnet_therapy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787624)

Not so much. Hemoglobin in blood, when oxygenated, is diamagnetic (what anyone who isn't a physicist would call "non-magnetic," like water). When it's deoxygenated, it's slightly paramagnetic, meaning it'll weakly align with an externally applied field. Nothing dangerous. In fact, it's this phenomenon that is responsible for the usefulness of functional MRI to map areas of the brain as oxygen demand changes over time.

A rather good thing, actually.

Power Insurance (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787124)

Once doctors are using guided electric fields to assist healing, how will corporations which spill uncontrolled electric fields among people deny that their fields affect human tissue? Or will they just claim credit for the healing "they've already been offering free for generations", and start tacking a medical charge on our bills?

Re:Power Insurance (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787234)

It figures that the bozos at New Scientist, by confusing "electric fields" with "electric currents", would prompt comments like this. EM radiation from wireless sources consists of orthogonal electric and magnetic fields which are as different from DC currents, physically speaking, as you could possibly imagine.

This sort of journalism is exactly why I no longer subscribe to New Scientist. They don't appear to give a crap about the "science" part.

Re:Power Insurance (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787367)

What happens when such an electric field intersects a conductor?

Re:Power Insurance (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787468)

What happens when such an electric field intersects a conductor?

This question does not particularly make sense. I can tell you that as a magnetic field passes through a conductor, it induces a current, if that helps any :P

Re:Power Insurance (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787709)

I had a hard time wording it in a meaningful way, but you get my point. I'm not one of those whackos that things 3 milligauss is a "safe limit" for magnetic fields, but it's hard to say that electric and magnetic fields have no potential effects (gah punny).

Re:Power Insurance (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787456)

I can possibly imagine neutron-degenerate matter [wikipedia.org] near 0' Kelvin, which is more different than DC than is an electric field.

And I know that DC is electrons moving in a conductor under the influence of an electric field [wikipedia.org] .

Maybe you should drop such aspirations as reading _New Scientist_ and instead catch up on basic electromagnetics.

And try getting a userID when throwing around baseless insults that betray your ignorance. It makes it easier to distinguish your unique style from the others.

quick! (2, Funny)

arabagast (462679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787129)

more gadgets!

what's all the buzz about? (1)

herbiesdad (909590) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787132)

this is what we might call a "shocking" discovery. but seriously, try the veal...

Re:what's all the buzz about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787296)

alright, I'll bite.

Watt the hell is going on here? Here I was sipping on jolt and was shocked by this news. It did spark my curiosity though. Maybe I'll look into it later after I fix my roof...I just need to borrow my neighbor Jacob's ladder.

Zap me a line if you find out more about this.

So... (1)

Swordsmanus (921213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787140)

Does that mean that soon I can go to any cleric in town, ask for a cure light wounds, spend my GP and be good to go?

Err, wrong game.

How to get laid by New Age chicks (5, Insightful)

bermabloeme (990995) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787146)

This creates electric field patterns all over the body.

A lot of the "New Age" folks say they can see a person's aura. A lot of these "New Age" folks are really hot girls! So, this is what you do: you grab this article and tell them that you believe, now. Let her just start talking about this stuff. Then, complain about some ailment that requires her "healing" touch. Lastly, ask to try it on her.

Let things progress: touching , kissing, clothes off, etc...

Enjoy!

Re:How to get laid by New Age chicks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787201)

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:How to get laid by New Age chicks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787277)

This is slashdot. Pretty girls don't exist in the basements of slashdotters' parents' houses.

Re:How to get laid by New Age chicks (2)

Ethan Allison (904983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787308)

How to get laid by New Age chicks (Score:3, Informative)

Only on Slashdot...

Re:How to get laid by New Age chicks (5, Insightful)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787324)

A lot of the "New Age" folks say they can see a person's aura. A lot of these "New Age" folks are really hot girls! So, this is what you do: you grab this article and tell them that you believe, now. Let her just start talking about this stuff. Then, complain about some ailment that requires her "healing" touch. Lastly, ask to try it on her. Let things progress: touching , kissing, clothes off, etc... Enjoy!

Only on /. would this get modded "Informative" rather than "Funny".

Re:How to get laid by New Age chicks (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787362)

A similar process occurs with respect to left-wing politics on campus. (Or at least it did when I was there. These days it might be right-wing politics. B-) )

Potential for abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787148)

The advantages of this far outweigh the potential for abuse: deliberatly preventing a wound from healing...

The problem (4, Funny)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787149)

The only problem with this is that now we need to put surgeries on the top floor of hospitals. Then there's the problem of having to wait for a lightning storm. Let's not even get into the extra staff you need to turn the big wheel and lift the operating table through the roof.

I suppose we'll also see extra insurance needed for the wear and tear on the surgeon's voicebox when he yells, "Liiiiiife! Liiiiiiife DO YOU HEAR ME!? GIVE MY CREATION ........... LIIIIIIIIIIFE!!"

Re:The problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787190)

Wow. How many bad jokes based on Frankenstein can you possibly include in one post?

Don't answer that, fag.

Old news (5, Funny)

mnmn (145599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787151)

Forget about 150 years, down in Texas they use electric chairs to fix up some really sick people.
And psychiatric wards have been using it to fix up people who were sick in the head in the early half of the century.

Even the police and mean old ladies use it to fix other people and pets. Them doctors are a little behind.

Re:Old news (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787321)

You laugh, but electroconvulsive therapy has gone a long way. It's now considered a reasonably safe and clinically proven [medem.com] treatment for certain disorders.

Re:Old news (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787398)

A friend of mine went through ECT a couple of years ago. I can't say that it helped his condition (but I can't say that it didn't either). What I will say is that it F*CKED his memory up. The entire roughly 4 month period he was getting ECT is gone--no memory at all of events that happened during that time, and his short-term memory is much, much worse than it used to be. I've heard similar stories from others.

I have no doubt that ECT can create some positive outcomes, but the costs seems REALLY high to me.

Other uses for electricity... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787154)

On second thought, there are probably minors reading this, so I won't give the URL of the B&D web site I stumbled across last week.

I don't think this is new (1)

andyring (100627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787155)

A friend of mine (now deceased, rest his soul, he couldn't beat the cancer) had a treatment along these lines about a year ago to help heal some sort of lesions on his skin (may have been bed sores, I don't recall). It was a device that he'd put over the affected area and it applied voltage to the skin, adjustable by him. I'm not sure if it was for healing or pain control, but it worked. He showed it to me a couple times, when I put it on my hand it felt like a mild version of a 9-volt battery on the tongue.

Re:I don't think this is new (1)

theelectron (973857) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787217)

They said the idea of using electricity to heal wounds is 150 years old; so no, the general idea is indeed old. The thing is, the electricity has to be applied in a very specific way to work. You could guess and get lucky and heal yourself with the above mentioned device, but(what I read from TFA) the old idea only works if you guessed right.

BUT, I think these guys found the mechanism by which electricity does this (which is new) and I'd also bet they actually have a way to reliably use the electricity (frequency/voltage/duration combo) to reliably cause healing.

Re:I don't think this is new (1)

zxnos (813588) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787731)

the idea of using electricity to heal is potentially very old. [wikipedia.org] i recall a battery being part of a ancient mid-east healers kit being mentioned on nova once.

also, on the show 'lost' the island has a big magnetic field that appears to crash planes and heal people.

Re:I don't think this is new (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787235)

I had electro-field treatment back in 1990 when I fractured my collar bone. Several months after the accident, the bone was still not knitting - hardly at all, anyway. Really disturbing to be able to bend my collar bone in the middle when doing things like, oh, sleeping or picking up a glass of water. Wrecked havoc on my posture, strength, and everything else in by back and nexk, too.

I was told many things by many people as to why this happened and what to do about it (diet, immobilization impossibilities, extensive surgery, prayer, physical therapy, just live with it, etc.).

One doctor prescribed a device to wear while I sleep. Charge a box during the day, then connect this "bendy-wire" loop to it, strap the loop around the break. It generated an electrical field, not an electrical shock to my skin (nor bone!). Just a field.

It worked, and after about four weeks of this electro-treatment the bone became whole again, mostly (pretty bad break); at least it no longer had an additional joint in the middle, instead there's a bulge of bone mass where before there was only pieces. It's mostly as straight as it's supposed to be (one shoulder is now ~4cm lower than the other).

It's definately not new. It's just taking some time to be accepted as real medicine.

Re:I don't think this is new (3, Informative)

budgenator (254554) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787534)

Bone (Calcanous) has two differnt types of cells, osteoclasts which "eat bone" and osteoblasts which lay down new bone. The osteoclasts tend to meander, eating the one randomly, but the osteoblasts tend to follow electrical currents in the bone. The calcium salts in the bone give off electrical currents by the piezoelectric effect which causes the bone to grow in the direction that makes it the strongest for the stresses it normaly recieves.

forget that (5, Funny)

npietraniec (519210) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787159)

This guy discovered immortality with magnets.

http://www.alexchiu.com/ [alexchiu.com]

Damn, they even interviewed him on slashdot.

http://interviews.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/0 6/07/1421238&mode=nocomment [slashdot.org]

Re:forget that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787791)

It's been said that there is nothing so stupid that people won't believe it... but I really wonder if more than, say, one person believes that his magnets can grant immortality?

Mumbo Jumbo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787163)

I don't believe in that electricity to heal crap! Now, the layin of hands, there's a healin' remedy!

Where's Majel R? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787165)

Nurse Chapel, the anabolic protoplaser, please.

not really suprising.. if.. (4, Funny)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787169)

.. you have been to a physical therapist. My physical therapist used electricity on my shoulder to help it heal up some. I think she said it was supposed to stimulate something.. actually it just tingled and felt weird, but now I no longer have shoulder problems....

Re:not really suprising.. if.. (1)

damian cosmas (853143) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787194)

Absolutely. When used properly, the electrical stimulation can work wonders for various muscle maladies. This is hardly a new discovery. Feels a bit weird at first, but pretty damn good afterward. It's just a way of triggering the nerves repeatedly to stretch the muscle in ways that you can't yourself. But when the electrodes are misplaced oh so slightly it feels like the muscles are being ripped from the bone.

Re:not really suprising.. if.. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787481)

.. you have been to a physical therapist. My physical therapist used electricity on my shoulder to help it heal up some. I think she said it was supposed to stimulate something.. actually it just tingled and felt weird, but now I no longer have shoulder problems....

What you had was probably a TENS treatment, or transcutaneous electrical nervous stimulation. It is intended to work muscles, and can also cause them to relax if used properly. They are very common in physical therapy in situations in which muscle atrophy is an issue. The technology has also been adopted by bodybuilders who use it for spot toning and for working out in their sleep, no idea if that actually works.

Old news (2, Interesting)

Bob Gelumph (715872) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787174)

The genes may have been identified, but there are patents out on the pulsing of DC across wounds by placing electrodes both laterally and diametrically on opposite side of the wounds and by holding one electrode steady while moving the other around.

I analysed a patent recently that dealt with this as part of a question in a preliminary round of interviews.

I can't remember the patent number, but basically, if they try to patent the actual therapy, they are going to have problems because the patent I am describing is something like 15 years old already.

Re:Old news (1)

Bob Gelumph (715872) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787251)

The patent I was referring to is 5158081 [freepatentsonline.com] and I also found 5549640 [freepatentsonline.com] , which might be relevant.
There seem to be a quite a few related patents, so I really doubt that any treatment based on this new discovery will be patentable.

Re:Old news (1)

tabrisnet (722816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787522)

Just wait. Somebody will patent this procedure being performed on the INTERNET!

Awesome (5, Informative)

BilZ0r (990457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787187)

That's actually quite an awesome paper. It seems that when a wound is made, it makes a low resistance shunt across skin, which normally has a voltage difference across it. This stimulates wound healing activity. The current peaks at 10 microA cm-2 and persisted at 4-8 microA cm-2, with all the current vector pointing towards the wound center. This paper shows not only that that effect is easily demonstrated in vitro, but what are the molecular mediators of it, see the original article here [nature.com] .

Re:Awesome (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787302)

Isn't this a standard practice with really difficult to heal broken bones?

Re:Awesome (1)

phasm42 (588479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787675)

That's in vivo :-]

Have we learned nothing ... (3, Funny)

Culture (575650) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787193)

... from history? If you read about Dr. Frankenstein, you will find that this medling in the unknown will lead to nothing but misery. I hope Bush veto's any work in this area.

Re:Have we learned nothing ... (1)

Dorceon (928997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787285)

Naw, he'll just issue a signing statement.

Re:Have we learned nothing ... (2, Funny)

planckscale (579258) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787309)

Yeah you're right, we should've stuck with voodoo, amputations, and opium-based elixers. In fact, if we just let everyone die from any ailment, health insurance would be a lot cheaper.


Re:Have we learned nothing ... (2, Funny)

Culture (575650) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787366)

See, you have scientifically proven that Bush is a great American, trying to save this county from medical bankruptcy. I can see that you, to, love america.

The Body Electric by Robert Becker (1)

Pictish Prince (988570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787203)

Dr. Becker was crucified for expressing these "views"

Coming soon to an inbox near you... (5, Interesting)

Null Nihils (965047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787205)

While I am fascinated by genuine scientific research into such effects, and interested by the insights into cellular and genetic mechanics described in the article, I shiver to think of how news like this might reverberate across the large communities of pseudo-science loons and snake-oil salesmen that lurk in the dark corners of the Internet.

" Electr1city curez, as seen |n New Scienti5t m4gazine. G3t electr|cal d3vice, cur3s all d1sease including ere
Zap.

Re:Coming soon to an inbox near you... (1)

Null Nihils (965047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787222)

Darn! There was more to that post, but slashcode borked it.

No amount of electricity will heal this wound. =(

Re:Coming soon to an inbox near you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787356)

Buy v0ltagr@ online!

Re:Coming soon to an inbox near you... (1)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787464)

Finally, a way to prevent people from buying things advertised in spam: breed the susceptibility out of the population.

Already out there (4, Informative)

bobllama (587614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787231)

There's already a company that's commercializing this - http://www.biofisica.com/ [biofisica.com] . They have some pretty interesting information on their site for anyone interested in more detail. I'm not associated with them in anyway, just happened to see them present at an event once.

Sick of 'science' reporting (4, Interesting)

bananaendian (928499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787254)

No doubt this report will be hyped by the new-age weirdos that are always looking for miracles cures or reasons for paranoia. Why do these articles never EVER tell anything meaningful - like for example the strenght and orientation of the field they used with some simple data tables and statistics? Who has access to some weird specialist journal with a 1000USD subscrition to get the raw data? New Scientist no.1 Science Magazine, yeah right! - science isn't about wild speculation and hype - its about rigorous examination and critical thinking. I wouldn't be suprised ones other labs try to reproduce the effect it gets debunked.

Re:Sick of 'science' reporting (3, Informative)

staeiou (839695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787312)

Why do these articles never EVER tell anything meaningful - like for example the strenght and orientation of the field they used with some simple data tables and statistics? Who has access to some weird specialist journal with a 1000USD subscrition to get the raw data?

So you think Nature (the journal TFA said it was published in) is some weird specialist journal with a 1000USD subscription? It is probably the most well known academic journal in existence, at least to the non-academic. And even if you are too poor to buy a subscription, I'm almost positive that every public library subscribes to Nature.

That's all well and good, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787260)

how will this help John Bobbit?

Gotta say it. (2, Funny)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787271)

'God-Damn-it Jim, I am a doctor not a generator'

Implementation or Understanding (3, Interesting)

buckhead_buddy (186384) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787290)

I've heard stories about how the medical profession was so enamored with radioactive tools for healing. Xrays to look inside the body. The way radiation exposure could kill unwanted bacteria. The cool soothing greenish glow of radioactive clocks and other tools. They came up with implementations of using radiation before understanding what it was doing. Today, looking back at the lack of understanding seems crazy; we'd never do something like that again. Would we?

Are we in fact going to do the same thing with electricity here? Are we really understanding why these mice are being cured or are we just satisfied to have a technique that appears to work? I don't mean to be cynical. Curing the impossible seems like a great thing. But will we be reading about how a quick emag arthritis treatment today resulted in the creation of Alzheimer's v2.0 tomorrow?

IMHO, a workable implementation is great, but full understanding would be better.

Re:Implementation or Understanding (1)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787434)

I'd say we have a very poor understanding of 90% of the treatments out there. The reality is: if it works, it works. Theorists (like me) like to think that one day, the stuff on paper will matriculate into something tangible, but really, in the medical world at least, it's the other way around.

Re:Implementation or Understanding (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787497)

They came up with implementations of using radiation before understanding what it was doing. Today, looking back at the lack of understanding seems crazy; we'd never do something like that again. Would we? Are we in fact going to do the same thing with electricity here?
[...] IMHO, a workable implementation is great, but full understanding would be better.

Short answer: No.

Medium answer: This has literally been studied for over 150 years. How much longer do you want to wait while people die?

Long answer: We understand literally orders of magnitude (if you could reasonably measure knowledge anyway) more about electricity now than we did about X-rays when we were first fucking around with them. Meanwhile, there will probably always be something more to learn. Our understanding of physics is in constant development - just what exactly is an electron, for example? So again, how much longer do you want to wait while people die?

Re:Implementation or Understanding (1)

bishop186 (784357) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787499)

Looking inside the body, killing bacteria, and glows are a little different from actual, provable healing power, though, methinks. Granted, this is probably another route to cancer. It speeds up cell regeneration and growth from what I gather, which is pretty much what cancer does, isn't it? Makes cells replicate at an out of control pace, that is. On an unrelated to the parent comment note, ninjas and by extention (since all of them are closet ninjas) the Japanese have obviously known about this for years. Haven't any of these scientists read any manga? They're always throwing around magnified needles. Poison's passe, doncha know.

Re:Implementation or Understanding (2, Informative)

IanDanforth (753892) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787515)

Are we really understanding why these mice are being cured or are we just satisfied to have a technique that appears to work?

The key thing about this article is the depth to which they understand how the effect works. Not only is a specific mechanical effect explored (i.e. how much current, in what way) but how that mechanism effects the biology right down to the level of gene expression! This kind of top-to-bottom understanding is highly unusual. In direct opposition to your example when you have detailed understanding of how things work you can apply that knowledge carefully and specifically rather than just a slap-dash "this will cure everything" approach.

-Ian

Re:Implementation or Understanding (3, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787554)


Are we in fact going to do the same thing with electricity here?

I doubt it. The effects of radiation on the body 100 years ago was very poorly understood. Low voltage electrical currents by comparison are fairly benign. It's not like the use of electricity in the human body is new. Pacemakers have been around forever, there's been some trials of direct electrical stimulation of the brain to create artificial vision, and many parapalegics use direct muscle stimulation to stand up, etc (maybe even walk?).

Also, the medical community itself has grown up. Years of animal testing is required for any kind of new treatment goes to limited human trials.

That's not to say it's all perfect. You can't dismiss the danger that any new treatment is going to have unforseen side effects that don't show up in human trials. But I think comparing this new treatment to the early days of medicine where anything goes and there's poor understanding isn't terribly valid.

Re:Implementation or Understanding (1)

Mozleron (944945) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787566)

I think what you are talking about is at the core of american medicine these days. Fix the symptoms, and if they go away, it must be better. Thus, we see all these skyrocketing costs of surgeries and a booming drug trade... erm, I mean, pharmaceuticals industry.

I wish the medical world would realize that they can't actually "heal" anything. All they are there for is to put our bodies into a state where it can heal itself. I am not saying that medical science has no place in the healing of the body, quite the contrary, doctors can do amazing things that do allow the body to heal itself. It just seems like they are more focused on the 'quick fix' rather than fixing the root of the problem.

Re:Implementation or Understanding (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787708)

I've heard stories about how the medical profession was so enamored with radioactive tools for healing. Xrays to look inside the body. The way radiation exposure could kill unwanted bacteria. The cool soothing greenish glow of radioactive clocks and other tools. They came up with implementations of using radiation before understanding what it was doing. Today, looking back at the lack of understanding seems crazy; we'd never do something like that again. Would we?

Of course we would. The only other way is to have test groups that literally span multiple generations to see if any harmful effects occur. (To see if you cause Alzheimers in your children, for example.) In practice, waiting to be 100% sure with a medical treatment is completely infeasible. Sure, it's possible that a new treatment will kill some people. But, how many people will die in the next hundred years while we wait to be sure it's safe?

Report Name (1)

triso (67491) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787378)

They should have titled their report, The Reanimation of Dead Tissue just for a laugh.

Dr. Becker wrote a book about this in 1985 (1)

faster (21765) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787385)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0688001238/ [amazon.com]

He was widely derided as a wacko. What has changed that makes this so new and wonderful now?

Re:Dr. Becker wrote a book about this in 1985 (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787508)

What has changed that makes this so new and wonderful now?

If I had (or wanted) to venture a guess, it would be that we've sequenced the human genome, which likely helped identify the genes responsible for the process. Understanding the mechanism tends to lend you credibility.

Hey! Coincidence! (0, Offtopic)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787395)

About 30 minutes ago I looked myself up in the mathematics genealogy project [nodak.edu] and discovered I was a 'descendant' of Paul Du Bois-Reymond. I'd never heard of this guy before. And now suddenly I'm reading about his brother on Slashdot. Weird!

I think using electricity to heal the genepool is (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787492)

a GREAT idea, as it would take a few fucktards out of the gene pool.

150 years of stagnation. why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15787590)

because selling life is not profitable.
death is much more profitable.
http://www.papimi.gr/early.htm [papimi.gr]

Tesla said it (1)

smartdreamer (666870) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787676)

Tesla was convinced that one could heal with only electricity. And if Tesla said it, it must be true.

One strange thing about this is that it would not really heal cells, but the disease wouldn't be active anymore.

Research abstract from Nature (2, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787748)

For the curious, here's the research abstract [nature.com] from the publication in Nature:

Electrical signals control wound healing through phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase-big gamma and PTEN

Wound healing is essential for maintaining the integrity of multicellular organisms. In every species studied, disruption of an epithelial layer instantaneously generates endogenous electric fields, which have been proposed to be important in wound healing. The identity of signalling pathways that guide both cell migration to electric cues and electric-field-induced wound healing have not been elucidated at a genetic level. Here we show that electric fields, of a strength equal to those detected endogenously, direct cell migration during wound healing as a prime directional cue. Manipulation of endogenous wound electric fields affects wound healing in vivo. Electric stimulation triggers activation of Src and inositol-phospholipid signalling, which polarizes in the direction of cell migration. Notably, genetic disruption of phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase-gamma (PI(3)Kgamma) decreases electric-field-induced signalling and abolishes directed movements of healing epithelium in response to electric signals. Deletion of the tumour suppressor phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) enhances signalling and electrotactic responses. These data identify genes essential for electrical-signal-induced wound healing and show that PI(3)Kgamma and PTEN control electrotaxis.

Are you healed? (1)

p33p3r (918997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15787761)

20 volts
ZZZZT
Are you healed?
I don't think so
100 volts
ZZZZZZT
Are you healed?
Hey that hurt's
200 volts
ZZZZZZT
Are you healed?
mooaaaannnn
300 volts
ZZZZZZZZT
Are you healed?
YES, YES, YES can I leave now?
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