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Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Research

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Introduction (Scroll Down for A-Z Research By Condition)

The beneficial therapeutic effects of selected low-energy, time-varying magnetic fields, called pulsed electro magnetic fields (PEMFs), have been documented with increasing frequency since 1973. Furthermore, double-blind evidence of therapeutic effects in other clinical disorders has emerged. These data, coupled with well-controlled laboratory findings on pertinent mechanisms of action, have begun to place PEMFs on a therapeutic par with surgically invasive methods but at considerably less risk and cost. Over the past decade, the number of publications on these topics has risen exponentially. They now include textbooks, specialty journals, and regular reviews by government agencies, in addition to individual articles, appearing in the wide spectrum of peer-reviewed, scientific sources. In a recent editorial in Current Contents, the editor reviews the frontiers of biomedical engineering focusing on Science Citation Index methods for identifying core research endeavors. Dr. Garfield chose PEMFs from among other biomedical engineering efforts as an example of a rapidly emerging discipline. - Dr. Andrew Bassett, Columbia University, Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

Based on decades of experimental evidence an excellent argument can be made for the existence of a fundamental functional relationship between living systems and electromagnetic fields. We relate this observation to the integrated electric polarization vector, in turn a measure of the double layer charge distribution at the cell membrane. This discovery, already being applied to a number of clinical problems, lends strong support to the concept of an overarching electromagnetic framework for living systems. - Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine

The fundamental intrinsic electro-gravitational (neutrino-photon-phonon transduction) mechanism of human life is proposed. The finding is that the subtle forces of life and flux densities on the order of magnitude 10(-8) gauss are the critical factors in maintaining physiological homeostasis and repair when imbalance such as cancer occurs. - Panminerva Medica

Various types of magnetic and electromagnetic fields are now in successful use in modern medicine. Electromagnetic therapy carries the promise to heal numerous health problems, even where conventional medicine has failed. Today, magneto-therapy provides a non invasive, safe, and easy method to directly treat the site of injury, the source of pain and inflammation, and a variety of diseases and pathologies. Millions of people worldwide have received help in treatment of the musculoskeletal system, as well as for pain relief. Pulsed electromagnetic fields are one important modality in magneto-therapy. Recent technological innovations, implementing advancements in computer technologies, offer excellent state-of-the-art therapy. - Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine

Very weak magnetic fields have been shown to be associated with the human brain and heart. These fields, apparently physiologic, are about one million times weaker than the geomagnetic, the earth's steady magnetic field, which measures about 0.5 gauss. As these fields are applied to the equations for solenoidal models, currents of about a microampere are derived; in perfect accord with recent clinical data indicating the therapeutic efficacy of weak currents in repair and growth of soft tissue, bone and nerve. They may convert mal-aligned atomic lattices of oncogenes and associated particles to homologous normal structures which may promulgate an adjustment to physiological homeostasis. - International Journal of Neuroscience

Although interest in energy medicine has existed for centuries in some parts of the world, in recent years this is an area of heightened interest for western healthcare practitioners. This awareness has been triggered by the growing body of knowledge on how EMFs interact with cellular systems. Optimistically, EMF therapy has the potential to revolutionize medicine, which is currently dominated by pharmaceutical and surgical interventions. In this case, new therapeutic tools may be developed for future clinicians to provide noninvasive treatments with low risk of side effects and no problem with drug interactions. EMF therapy for the treatment of pain, cancer, epilepsy, and inflammatory diseases like psoriasis, tendinitis and rheumatoid arthritis is currently being explored. The long-term success of this new area of medicine is still unknown. - Biomedical Sciences Instrumentation

Alzheimer’s disease

Impairments in visual memory and visuoconstructive functions commonly occur in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Recently, I reported that external application of electromagnetic fields (EMF) of extremely low intensity (in the picotesla range) and of low frequency (in the range of 5Hz-8Hz) improved visual memory and visuoperceptive functions in patients with Parkinson's disease. The report demonstrates, for the first time, that specific cognitive symptoms of AD are improved by treatment with EMF of a specific intensity and frequency. The rapid improvement in cognitive functions in response to EMF suggests that some of the mental deficits of AD are reversible being caused by a functional (i.e., synaptic transmission) rather than a structural (i.e., neuritic plaques) disruption of neuronal communication in the central nervous system. - International Journal of Neuroscience

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation applied to the dlPFC improves naming performance also in the advanced stages of AD. Moreover, in the severe group the effect is not specific for action naming, as in the case of the mild AD group. These findings suggest that rTMS can affect the intrinsic ability of the brain to restore or compensate for damaged function and may represent an useful new tool for cognitive rehabilitation. - European Journal of Neurology

Ankle sprain

Acutely sprained ankles represent a frequent and common injury among active duty troops in training, and are a significant source of morbidity with respect to days lost to training. In a randomized, prospective, double blind study of 50 grade I and II (no gross instability) sprained ankles, a statistically significant decrease in edema was noted following one treatment with pulsed electro magnetic field (PEMF) therapy. The application of this modality in acutely sprained ankles could result in significant decreases in time lost to military training. – Military Medicine

Back pain

Back pain and the whiplash syndrome are very common conditions involving tremendous costs and extensive medical effort. A quick and effective reduction of symptoms, especially pain, is required. Magnetic fields appear to have a considerable and statistically significant potential for reducing pain in cases of lumbar radiculopathy and the whiplash syndrome. – Neuro Rehabilitation

Back pain – low back

This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial studied the effectiveness of pulsed electromagnetic therapy (PEMT) in patients with chronic lower back pain. PEMT produced significant pain reduction throughout the observation period compared with baseline values. The percentage change in the NRS score from baseline was significantly greater in the PEMT group than the placebo group at all three time-points measured. The mean revised Oswestry disability percentage after 4 weeks was significantly improved from the baseline value in the PEMT group, whereas there were no significant differences in the placebo group. In conclusion, PEMT reduced pain and disability and appears to be a potentially useful therapeutic tool for the conservative management of chronic lower back pain. - Journal of International Research

We evaluate the efficacy and safety of therapeutic electromagnetic fields (TEMF) on chronic low back pain. Secondary objectives included the investigation of the effects of TEMF on psychometric measures. Both groups improved over time. Although groups were similar during the treatment period, treated subjects (TEMF of 15 mT) improved significantly over sham treatment during the 2-week follow-up period (20.5% reduction in pain); There were no reported serious adverse events. This study demonstrates that TEMF may be an effective and safe modality for the treatment of chronic low back pain disorders. - Pain Practice

Bone density

To determine the effect of a 72 Hz pulsating electromagnetic field (PEMF) on bone density of the radii of osteoporosis-prone women, the nondominant forearms of 20 subjects were exposed to PEMF 10 h daily for a period of 12 weeks. The data suggest that properly applied PEMFs, if scaled for whole-body use, may have clinical application in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. - The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research

Cancer – bladder
The study deals with immune status of patients operated for bladder cancer and exposed postoperatively to alternating magnetic field (MF). MF application was followed by higher T- and B-lymphocyte and CD4+, CD16+ cell levels as well as enhanced T-cell activity; no postoperative complications were registered and tumor relapse rates were relatively low. The effect was likely to be due to antistressor influence of MF. The procedure may substitute drug therapy for immunocorrection and to avoid recurrence of bladder cancer. - Volpr Onkol

Cancer – breast tumorsThe study was concerned with effect of alternating magnetic field (AMF) on immunobiological characteristics of lymphocytes from patients with locally-advanced breast tumors. Patients received infusions of treated autoblood and changes in their immunological status were followed up. Stimulation of T-, B- and NK- cells was observed. Immuno-regulating effect was apparent when autoblood was treated with 50 H/25 mT1 and 100 H/50 mT1.

- Volpr Onkol

Cancer - cells

PEMF controls cell growth depending on the degree of cell differentiation. This study also shows the potentiality of PEMF as an adjunctive treatment method for malignant tumors. – Bioelectromagnetics

No adverse side-effects were reported in an investigation of the antitumor effect of turbulent magnetic field (TMF) carried out as a component of preoperative chemoradiotherapy for breast cancer at the Center's Clinic. The study group included 114 patients with locally advanced tumors(T3, N1-N3, M0). According to the clinical, roentgenological and histological evidence on the end-results, the procedure was highly effective. Also, it was followed by shorter and less extensive postoperative lymphorrhea. – Volpr Onko

Carpal Tunnel SyndromePEMF exposure in refractory carpal tunnel syndrome provides statistically significant short and long-term pain reduction and mild improvement in objective neuronal functions. Neuromodulation appears to influence nociceptive-C and large A-fiber functions, probably through ion/ligand binding. - Pain Medicine

Cartilage Severe joint inflammation following trauma, arthroscopic surgery or infection can damage articular cartilage, thus every effort should be made to protect cartilage from the catabolic effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines and stimulate cartilage anabolic activities. Previous pre-clinical studies have shown that pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) can protect articular cartilage from the catabolic effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and prevent its degeneration. The percentage of patients who used NSAIDs was 26% in the active group and 75% in the control group. At 3 years follow-up, the number of patients who completely recovered was higher in the active group compared to the control group. Treatment with I-ONE aided patient recovery after arthroscopic surgery, reduced the use of NSAIDs, and also had a positive long-term effect. - Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy

Chronic pain

Specific pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) have been shown to induce analgesia (antinociception) in healthy human volunteers. These findings provide some initial support for the use of PEMF exposure in reducing pain in chronic pain populations and warrants continued investigation into the use of PEMF exposure for short-term pain relief. - Pain Research & Management

Dental pain

Two hours of exposure to a weak, oscillating magnetic fields induced a significant decrease in three parameters (dental sensory and cutaneous pain and tolerance thresholds), whereas the other two parameters showed a similar tendency. When the same subjects were exposed to a sham treatment, only marginal, nonsignificant variations in all parameters were observed. These results represent the first piece of evidence that weak alterations of the magnetic field may induce hyperalgesia in humans. - Bioelectromagnetics

Diabetic neuropathy/angipathy

Significant improvement of symptoms, and of all registered parameters of peripheral circulation was established after the therapy. High-frequency pulsating electromagnetic field is recommended for the treatment of diabetic angiopathy. In patients with neuropathic changes it can be used as an introduction procedure. - Srpski arhiv za celokupno lekarstvo

This study demonstrates that pulsed electromagnetic fields are able to accelerate wound healing under diabetic and normal conditions by up-regulation of FGF-2-mediated angiogenesis. They also prevented tissue necrosis in response to a standardized ischemic insult, suggesting that noninvasive angiogenic stimulation by pulsed electromagnetic fields may be useful to prevent ulcer formation, necrosis, and amputation in diabetic patients. – Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Erectile dysfunction Combined treatment with local negative pressure and pulsating magnetic field conducted in 116 patients with erectile dysfunction aged 20-60 years produced optimal treatment results. Recovery and improvement of the erectile function were achieved in 85.7% patients given local vacuum magneto-therapy. - Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult

An effect was studied of appliances for magneto-therapy on sexual function of 105 men presenting with sexual problems. A total of 96 sexological patients were examined according to a general program, to study placebo-effect. The magnetic field beneficial effect was recordable in 70-80 % of the patients, that of placebo in 33 % men. It is suggested that augmentation of sexual activity is associated with an increase in cavernous blood flow. – Lik Sprava

Fibromyalgia

Exposure to a specific pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) has been shown to produce analgesic (antinociceptive) effects in many organisms. In a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled clinical trial, patients with either chronic generalized pain from fibromyalgia (FM) or chronic localized musculoskeletal or inflammatory pain were exposed to a PEMF (400 microT) through a portable device fitted to their head during twice-daily 40 min treatments over seven days. PEMF may be a novel, safe and effective therapeutic tool for use in at least certain subsets of patients with chronic, nonmalignant pain. - Pain Research & Management

Heart rate variability

Exposure to PEMF for 20 minutes resulted in more rapid recovery of heart rate variability, especially in the very low frequency range after physical strain. The study also showed the moderating influence of the subjects' constitutional VLF power on their response to PEMF treatment. These findings have since been replicated in a clinical study and should be taken into consideration when PEMF treatment is chosen. - European Journal of Applied Physiology

Inflammation

It is well known that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can induce repair of non-healing bone fractures. It is generally believed that non-invasive, EMF therapy might have a broad, albeit currently unrecognized clinical potential. Since T cells are key modulators of inflammation, the development of EMF based therapeutic devices to regulate their activity can be expected to provide important tools to treat numerous human inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis and arthritis. - Biomedical Sciences Instrumentation

Knee pain

Low-amplitude, extremely low frequency magnetic fields are safe and effective for treating patients with chronic knee pain due to osteoarthritis. Reduction in pain after a treatment session was significantly greater in the magnetic field-on group (46%) compared to the magnetic field-off group (8%). - Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine

Knee arthritis

In patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee, PMF treatment can reduce impairment in activities of daily life and improve knee function. – Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift 

Lumbar fusion

Sixty-one randomly selected patients who underwent lumbar fusion surgeries for discogenic low back pain between 1987 and 1994 were retrospectively studied. All patients had failed to respond to preoperative conservative treatments. Forty-two patients received adjunctive therapy with pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) stimulation, and 19 patients received no electrical stimulation of any kind. Average follow-up time was 15.6 months postoperatively. Fusion succeeded in 97.6% of the PEMF group and in 52.6% of the unstimulated group. The use of PEMF stimulation enhances bony bridging in lumbar spinal fusions. Successful fusion underlies a good clinical outcome in patients with discogenic low back pain. - Advances in Therapy

Migraine/Headaches

In the active-treatment group, all assessed criteria were significantly improved at the end of the migraine/headache study. 76% of active-treatment patients experienced clear or very clear relief of their complaints. Only 1 placebo-patient (2.5%) felt some relief; 8% noted slight and 2% reported significant worsening of symptoms. No side effects were noted. - Advances in Therapy

Ten of the 22 subjects who had actual exposure received 2 additional weeks of actual exposure after their initial 1-month follow-up. All showed decreased headache activity (50% good, 38% excellent). Thirteen subjects from the actual exposure group elected not to receive additional exposure. Twelve of them showed decreased headache activity by the second month (29% good, 43% excellent). Eight of the subjects in the placebo group elected to receive 2 weeks of actual exposure after the initial 1-month follow-up with 75% showing decreased headache activity (38% good, 38% excellent). In conclusion, exposure to pulsing electromagnetic fields for at least 3 weeks is an effective, short-term intervention for migraine, but not tension headaches. - Headache

Multiple Sclerosis

There is a growing literature on the biological and clinical effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields. Some studies suggest that electromagnetic therapies may be useful in the treatment of chronic illnesses. This study is a follow-up to a placebo controlled pilot study in which multiple sclerosis (MS) patients exposed to weak, extremely low frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields showed significant improvements on a composite symptom measure. Evidence from this randomized, double-bind, placebo controlled trial is consistent with results from smaller studies suggesting that exposure to pulsing, weak electromagnetic fields can alleviate symptoms of MS. - Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine

Fatigue is the most common symptom of multiple sclerosis. 75%-90% of patients with multiple sclerosis report having fatigue, and 50%-60% describe it as the worst symptom of their disease. Fatigue is significantly associated with reduced quality of life and is also a major reason for unemployment, especially for patients with otherwise minor disability. There is evidence that pulsing electromagnetic fields may improve fatigue associated with multiple sclerosis-
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