Tel Aviv University researchers discovered that the flow of electricity in the human body developed in a similar way to naturally occurring electricity in the environment, which could open the door to medical and scientific breakthroughs.
By Yakir Benzion, United with Israel
Researchers at Tel Aviv University have discovered a link between electrical activity in the atmosphere and the way electricity flows in living creatures.
The findings may change the way scientists think about electrical activity in living things and pave the way for revolutionary new medical treatments for illnesses like epilepsy and Parkinson’s Disease that are connected to abnormalities in the body’s electrical activity.
The connection between atmospheric electromagnetic fields and human health may thus affect future medical treatments, said Prof. Colin Price of the university’s Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.
Scientists know that most electrical activity in both vertebrates (creatures with a spinal cord) and invertebrates (about 97 percent of all living things) occurs at extremely low frequencies, the reason for which has eluded scientists. The Tel Aviv study found evidence of a direct link between electrical fields in the atmosphere and those found in living organisms, including humans.
“We show that the electrical activity in many living organisms — from zooplankton in the oceans, to sharks [to human] brains — is very similar to the electrical fields we measure and study in the atmosphere from global lightning activity,” said Prof. Price, who led the research for the study that was published in the International Journal of Biometeorology.
Price and team members from MIT and the University of Alaska theorize that during the evolution of the planet, living organisms adapted and evolved to actually use the electricity in the environment.
Over time, living organisms evolved with the natural electromagnetic fields that are continuously generated by global lightning activity, leading to the development of cellular electrical activity in living things. The research team found the electrical spectrum in some animals appears to be the same as the background atmospheric low frequency electric field produced by lightning.
Price said biologists and doctors could not explain why the frequencies in living organisms are similar to those in the atmosphere caused by lightning and were not aware of the connection.
The findings indicate that lightning-related fields may have positive medical applications related to spinal cord injuries, the human biological clock and other bodily functions related to electrical activity, Price said.
“The connection between the ever-present electromagnetic fields, between lightning in the atmosphere and human health, may have huge implications in the future for various treatments related to electrical abnormalities in our bodies,” he added.
Future work will involve designing new experiments to see how the fields from lightning may impact living organisms, and to investigate how the electric fields can be used to benefit humans with one new experiment to see the electrical field impact on the rate of photosynthesis in plants, Price concluded.
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