Navigation Links
UVa biomedical engineering study shows magnetic field can reduce swelling
Date:1/3/2008

A recent study by University of Virginia researchers demonstrates that the use of an acute, localized static magnetic field of moderate strength can result in significant reduction of swelling when applied immediately after an inflammatory injury.

Thomas Skalak, professor and chair of biomedical engineering, and Cassandra Morris, a former Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering at U.Va., reported their findings in the November 2007 edition of the American Journal of Physiology.

In the study, the hind paws of anesthetized rats were treated with inflammatory agents in order to simulate tissue injury. Magnetic therapy was then applied to the paws. The research results indicate that magnets can significantly reduce swelling if applied immediately after tissue trauma.

Since muscle bruising and joint sprains are the most common injuries worldwide, this discovery has potentially significant implications. "If an injury doesn't swell, it will heal faster - and the person will experience less pain and better mobility," says Skalak. This means that magnets might be used much the way ice packs and compression are now used for everyday sprains, bumps, and bruises, but with more beneficial results. The ready availability and low cost of this treatment could produce huge gains in worker productivity and quality of life.

Magnets have been touted for their healing properties since ancient Greece. Magnetic therapy is still widely used today as an alternative method for treating a number of conditions, from arthritis to depression, but there hasn't been scientific proof that magnets can heal.

Lack of regulation and widespread public acceptance have turned magnetic therapy into a $5 billion world market. Hopeful consumers buy bracelets, knee braces, shoe inserts, mattresses and other products that are embedded with magnets based on anecdotal evidence, hoping for a non-invasive and drug-free cure to what ails them.

"The Federal Drug Administration regulates specific claims of medical efficacy, but in general static magnetic fields are viewed as safe," notes Skalak, who has been carefully studying magnets for a number of years in order to develop real scientific evidence about the effectiveness of magnetic therapy.

Skalak's lab leads the field in the area of microcirculation research - the study of blood flow through the body's tiniest blood vessels. With a five-year, $875,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Skalak and Morris set out to investigate the effect of magnetic therapy on microcirculation. Initially, they sought to examine a major claim made by companies that sell magnets: that magnets increase blood flow.

In their initial study, magnets of 70 milliTesla (mT) field strength - about 10 times the strength of the common refrigerator variety - were placed near the rats' blood vessels. Quantitative measurements of blood vessel diameter were taken both before and after exposure to the static magnetic fields - the force created by the magnets. Morris and Skalak found that the force had a significant effect: the vessels that had been dilated constricted, and the constricted vessels dilated, implying that the magnetic field could induce vessel relaxation in tissues with constrained blood supply, ultimately increasing blood flow.

Dilation of blood vessels is often a major cause of swelling at sites of trauma to soft tissues such as muscles or ligaments. The prior results on vessel constriction led Morris and Skalak to look closer at whether magnets, by limiting blood flow in such cases, would also reduce swelling.

Given the results of this latest study, Skalak envisions the magnets being particularly useful to high school, college and professional sports teams, as well as school nurses and retirement communities. He has plans to continue testing the effectiveness of magnets through clinical trials and testing in elite athletes. A key to the success of magnetic therapy for tissue swelling is careful engineering of the proper field strength at the tissue location, a challenge in which most currently available commercial magnet systems fall short. The new research should allow Skalak's biomedical engineering group to design field strengths that provide real benefit for specific injuries and parts of the body.

"We now hope to implement a series of steps, including private investment partners and eventually a major corporate partner, to realize these very widespread applications that will make a positive difference for human health," says Skalak.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jeff Hanna
jhanna@virginia.edu
434-243-2070
University of Virginia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Boston University biomedical engineers find chink in bacterias armor
2. $22 million gift from Alfred Taubman launches new biomedical research institute
3. USC biomedical team to participate in $6 million low vision project
4. Phase 2 of Singapores Biomedical Sciences Initiative gains momentum for clinical research
5. Innovative civil engineering application promises cleaner waters
6. UC-San Diego Engineering Honor Society wins most outstanding chapter award
7. UCSD bioengineering grad student wins leadership award
8. Synaptics SecurePad(TM) Selected as CES Innovations 2008 Design and Engineering Award Honoree
9. Setting a course for the future of tissue engineering
10. Childhood obesity indicates greater risk of school absenteeism, Penn study reveals
11. A study by the MUHC and McGill University opens a new door to understanding cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/3/2016)... 4, 2016 --> --> ... M (105.0), up 1,187% compared with fourth quarter of 2014. ... 517.6 M (loss: 30.0). Earnings per share increased to SEK ... 537.4 M (neg: 74.7). , --> ... to SEK 2,900.5 M (233.6), up 1,142% compared with 2014. ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... 2016 Vigilant Solutions announces today that the ... Missouri solved two recent hit-and-run cases ... from Vigilant Solutions. Brian Wenberg explains, ... victim was walking out of a convenience store and witnessed an elderly male ... vehicle, striking his vehicle and leaving the scene.  In ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... Feb. 2, 2016  BioMEMS devices deployed ... focused on medical screening and diagnostic applications, ... Wearable devices that facilitate and assure continuous ... movement are being bolstered through new opportunities ... signal acquisition coupled with wireless connectivity and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... Three-Year Initiative Supports Next Generation of Medical Geneticists ... Camp Experiences SHPG ... lives of children born with rare diseases, as well as the ... announcing a new initiative designed to positively affect the lives of ... rare disease care. --> To mark the company,s founding ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... , Feb. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. (TSXV: BRM) ... top ten finalists for clean technology companies in the TSX ... top 10 companies listed on the TSX Venture Exchange, in ... gas, clean technology & life sciences, diversified industries ... weighting given to return on investment, market cap growth, trading ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... 8, 2016 --> ... an innovation-driven oncology company developing next generation cancer ... today announced that chairman emeritus of Tata Sons ... the company as part of the first close ... investors Navam Capital and Aarin Capital. ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... Feb. 8, 2016  BioElectronics Corporation (OTC Pink: ... announced today that it is responding to a ... the Securities and Exchange Commission posted on the ... Chairman of the Board of BioElectronics Corporation and ... Administration at The Fuqua School of Business, Duke ...
Breaking Biology Technology: