Requirement for Hypomagnetic field (Zero field) studies may apply to anomalous research?

It’s already known that hyper-weak non-thermal magnetic fields can affect organisms. A well known and reproducible effect involves migration and navigation of birds, turtles and other organisms called Magnetoreception. Although a mechanism has not yet been identified, behavioral studies on animals can reliably produce the effect at magnetic field strengths from one to a few tens of nanoTesla (nT). These effects can be reliably produced in the presence of the much stronger natural geomagnetic fields generated from within earths core. Despite the magnetic field from the planet core being thousands of times stronger than the weak magnetic field strengths which the researchers are using, the researchers can still reliably produce these behavioral effects wthin organisms without them being drowned out by the stronger fields.

It’s worthwhile providing some comparisons to demonstrate just how weak the magnetic field strengths used in Magnetoreception studies are…

Beyond these Magneoreception studies lies the research into non-specific hyper-weak magnetic field effects in organisms which falls under the field of Magnetobiology in general. The bulk of the research into biological effects is here with many thousands of published papers.  But these studies suffer from poor reproducibility, and are nearly all unique, Prato & Binhi suggest the principle causes being the random and nonspecific non-thermal effects that researchers don’t control for.

Binhi and Prato suggest in their recent paper that the only way to improve the reproducibility for studies in the field of Magnetobiology is to run them in isolated hypomagnetic environmental conditions. Prato has already shown how successful this strategy can be, in his own studies exploring the behavioral effects on mice after they are place inside Mu-Metal magnetically shielded chambers. And in a later study reintroducing controlled magnetic fields inside these shielded chambers.

They then argue, using copious amounts of research from a wide range of previous studies in hypomagnetic conditions (magnetically shielded), that the results are still too random and well distributed, but are often of such weak or selective magnetic field strength or frequency that future research should probably focus on either a universal physical mechanism, or a molecular gyroscope mechanism, with a water proton mechanism being an outside possibility…

Looking at each of these – most likely – mechanisms in turn, they argue that:

The universal, or general physical, mechanism is interesting because its predictions do not depend on the nature of the molecular magnetic moments. It is assumed only that they precess and relax. Therefore, there is an attractive possibility to measure the MF target parameters, the gyromagnetic ratio and the thermal relaxation time, separately. The mechanism predicts the maximum effect of approximately 12% and the existence of HMF and ac/dc MF effects simultaneously in one and the same organism.

The magnetic moment of a molecular gyroscope does not precess. The moment occurs due to the rotation of charges that are distributed over the gyroscope—a rotating molecule with its ends temporarily fixed. Gyroscopic mechanism is attractive by the high value of the expected effects, up to 50%, and a relatively small value, 0.03, of the critical parameter γHτ. However, (i) the critical MF is highly dependent on the size of a virtual space for rotation, and (ii) the existence of the long-, or coherently, rotating parts of a protein chain in the process of folding has not yet been confirmed in any experiments besides magnetobiological ones.

The proton-exchange mechanism requires very precise technique for its validation—a magnetic exposure system that could eliminate any extraneous MF variations exceeding 1 nT. Available observations of 10 to 1000 greater critical MFs do not support the mechanism. In addition, this has not been mathematically developed to a level that would allow one to make experimentally verifiable predictions. Further, even if the mobility of a portion of water protons was really changed in 1-nT MFs, it is unclear how this change could affect the rate of biochemical reaction.

The magnetic fields used to produce these behavioral effects could be of such weakness that I would argue that that to be completely through. All future studies on organisms which are analyzing small and strange behavioral changes in organisms, are going to need to control for the environmental magnetic field conditions present during the experiment.

In my opinion, if this research suggests the use of magnetic shielding, and hypomagnetic conditions for reproducibility of these magnetobiological studies, then this must also have a bearing on the reproducibility of studies exploring anomalous human phenomena.

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Can hyper-weak magnetic fields affect behaviour… and memory?

Apparently so… this behavioral study ( Prato et. al. 2013 ) which shows an extremely robust effect, deals with hyper-weak (33 nanoTelsla) magnetic field (MF) effects on mice. These hyper-weak magnetic fields reduce a strange analgesic effect on mice previously discovered by the authors. This analgesic effect is caused by 1 hour of shielding from ambient MF’s inside a Mu Metal chamber. The study sort of falls outside of the usual Magnetoreception studies to do with animal navigation. It’s one of the most thorough studies I’ve ever read. It’s very detailed and somewhat difficult to understand so I will try to simplify, and briefly explain the main issues as I see it…

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