Science & History: NASA PEMF Study

NASA PEMF StudyThe research below was instrumental in initiating the development of the SomaPulse® device, starting with the stimulation of neural stem cells in a study conducted by NASA, with Dr. Dennis being a co-investigator. This research summary is of necessity somewhat complex, because of the complexity of the science. It is likely to be mostly of interest to those who have a scientific or engineering background. Nonetheless, this summary serves to highlight the impressive and in-depth scientific and engineering background that served as the basis for the development of the SomaPulse® device. This rich and in-depth research background is not typical of most PEMF devices. Because of that, it is reasonable to say that the research background behind the SomaPulse® far surpasses most other PEMF devices that are commercially available for home use.

Physiological and molecular genetic effects of time varying electromagnetic fields on human neuronal cells

Thomas J. Goodwin, PH.D., Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
The present investigation details the development of model systems for growing two- and three dimensional human neural progenitor (NHNP) stem cells within a culture medium facilitated by a time-varying electromagnetic field (TVEMF), i.e. PEMF. The cells and culture medium are contained within a two- or three-dimensional culture vessel, and the electromagnetic field is emitted from an electrode or coil. These studies further provide methods to promote neural tissue regeneration by means of culturing the neural cells in either configuration. Grown in two dimensions, neuronal cells extended longitudinally, forming tissue strands extending axially along and within electrodes comprising electrically conductive channels or guides through which a time-varying electrical current was conducted. In the three-dimensional aspect, exposure to TVEMF resulted in the development of three-dimensional aggregates, which emulated organized neural tissues. In both experimental configurations, the proliferation rate of the TVEMF cells was 2.5 to 4.0 times the rate of the non-waveform cells. Each of the experimental setups resulted in similar molecular genetic changes regarding the growth potential of the tissues as measured by gene chip analyses, which measured more than 10,000 human genes simultaneously. This study clearly shows the ability to use TVEMF to control the proliferative rate, directional attitude, and molecular genetic expression of normal human neural progenitor cells. The procedure is applicable to, but not limited to, the control of NHNP cells in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional culture. The genetic responses both up-regulated and down-regulated genes which were maturation- and growth-regulatory in nature. These genes are also primarily involved in the embryogenic process.

Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that control over the embryogenic development process may be achieved via the presently demonstrated methodology. Specific genes such as human germline oligomeric matrix protein, prostaglandin endoperoxide synthase 2, early growth response protein 1, and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 precursor are highly up-regulated. Keratin Type II cytoskelatal 7, mytotic kinesin like protein 1, transcription factor 6 like 1, mytotic feedback 27 control protein, and cellular retinoic acid binding protein are down-regulated. Each of these two sets is only an example from the approximately 320 genes changes expressed as a consequence of exposure to TVEMF.

There is significant precedent in the literature for the results reported above. Kepler et al. (1990) reported the effects of the neurons with oscillatory properties on the composite of neural networks. This work illustrates the likelihood that a pulse width modulated system might bring on specific responses in neural tissues. As previously discussed, Valentini et al. (1993) demonstrated the ability to enhance the outgrowth of neural fibers on materials that possess a weak electric charge. This would indicate that intense electric fields are not necessarily an essential component of this process, and that a weak and persistent stimulus might yield a measurable effect.

Additional evidence of the effects of magnetic fields exists in the work of Sandyk et al. (1992a). This communication details dramatic improvement of a patient with progressive degenerative multiple sclerosis. Briefly, the patient showed considerable improvement when subjected to treatment at a frequency of 2-7 Hz and an intensity of the magnetic field of 7.5 pico Tesla. These parameters marginally parallel those of this report. In a similar fashion, Sandyk et al. (1992b) reported significant improvement in patients treated with the same field strength and intensity. The ability to suppress or stimulate the growth of non-excitable cells has been reported in mouse lymphoma cells by Lyte et al. (1991). A narrow range of electric field was found to be effective at one end to stimulate and at the other to inhibit the growth of these cells. These data might suggest cellular receptors in all cells. To sustain this notion, Brüstle et al. (1996) reported the potential to use neural progenitors for recapitulation of neural tissues. As would be expected, this would require genetic control at the embryonic level. We believe this study indicates our ability to trigger these parametric events.

As is clearly demonstrated in the human body, the bioelectric, biochemical process of electrical nerve stimulation is a documented reality. The present investigation demonstrates that a similar phenomenon can be potentiated in a synthetic atmosphere, i.e., two-dimensionally or in rotating wall cell culture vessels.

One may use this electrical potentiation for a number of purposes, including developing tissues for transplantation, repairing traumatized tissues, and moderating some neurodegenerative diseases and perhaps controlling the degeneration of tissue as might be effected in a bioelectric stasis field.