Electromagnetic Interaction between Environmental Fields and Living Systems Determines Health and Well-Being (pp. 87-130)
Authors: (Dimitris J. Panagopoulos, University of Athens, Department of Biology, Athens, Greece, and others)
Abstract: In the present chapter we present data showing the electric nature of both our natural environment and the living organisms and how the inevitable interaction between the two, determines health and well-being. We first give a brief theoretical background of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and waves and delineate the differences between natural and man-made electromagnetic radiation. Apart from other differences, while man-made radiation produced by oscillation circuits is polarized, natural radiation produced by atomic events is not. We describe the electromagnetic nature of our natural environment on Earth, i.e. the terrestrial electric and magnetic fields, the natural radiation from the sun and the stars, the cosmic microwaves and the natural radioactivity. We note that all living organisms on Earth live in harmony with these natural fields and types of radiation as long as these fields are within normal levels and are not disturbed by changes, usually in solar activity. We then describe the electrical nature of all living organisms as this is determined by the electrical properties of the cell membranes, the circadian biological clock, the endogenous electric currents within cells and tissues, and the intracellular ionic oscillations. We explain how the periodicity of our natural environment mainly determined by the periodical movement of the earth around its axis and around the sun, implies the periodical function of the suprahiasmatic nuclei (SCN) - a group of neurons located above the optic chiasm - which constitute the central circadian biological clock in mammals. We discuss the probable connection between the central biological clock with the endogenous electric oscillations within
cells and organs constituting the “peripheral clocks”, and how the central clock controls the function of peripheral ones in the heart, the brain, and all parts of the living body by electrical and chemical signals. We explain how cellular/tissue functions are initiated and controlled by endogenous (intracellular/trans-cellular) weak electric currents consisting of directed free ion flows through the cytoplasm and the plasma membrane, and the connection of these currents with the function of the circadian biological clock. We present experimental data showing that the endogenous electric currents and the corresponding functions they control can be easily varied by externally applied electric or magnetic fields of similar or even significantly smaller intensities than those generating the endogenous currents. We present two possible ways by which external EMFs like those produced by human technology can distort the physiological endogenous electric currents and the corresponding biological/physiological functions: a) By direct interference between the external and the endogenous fields and, b) By alteration of the intracellular ionic concentrations (i.e. by changing the number of electric current carriers within the cells) after irregular gating of electrosensitive ion-channels on the cell membranes. Finally, we discuss how maintenance of this delicate electromagnetic equilibrium between living organisms and their natural environment, determines health and well-being, and how its disturbance will inevitably lead sooner or later to health effects.