Research Finds Electromagnetic Fields Could Be Used To Treat Diabetes Remotely

Researchers at the University of Iowa Health Care have discovered a new way to treat blood sugar non-invasively. The team found that exposure to static electric and magnetic fields normalized blood sugar and insulin resistance, meaning it may be possible to treat type 2 diabetes with electromagnetic fields (EMFs). 

In the study, Calvin Carter, PhD, and Sunny Huang, an MD/PhD student, exposed mice to EMFs for a few hours per day. Their results indicated that EMFs alter the balance of oxidants and antioxidants in the liver, improving the body’s response to insulin. With lasting effects on blood sugar and insulin levels seen, the discovery opens up the possibility of treating type 2 diabetes even overnight, as opposed to the current cumbersome treatment regimes. 

While the discovery is major, the study was almost accidental. Huang was practicing taking blood from mice and measuring blood sugar levels, and Carter offered mice he was using to study the effect of EMFs on the animals’ brain and behaviour. The mice, which had a genetic modification that made them diabetic (and therefore would have high blood sugar levels), had normal blood sugar levels upon testing. From this, the project began. The study found that static magnetic and electric fields modulated blood sugar, and exposure during sleep reversed insulin resistance within three days of treatment.

EMFs these days are used in anything from mobile devices to MRI and EEG machines. However, their impact on human biology is not fully understood. In researching the topic, Carter and Huang found that many animals (e.g. a number of species of birds) sense the Earth’s electromagnetic field and use it for navigation. This pointed to a quantum biological phenomenon whereby EMFs may interact with specific molecules in the body. Some of these molecules are oxidants, which are studied in redox biology, which looks at the behavior of electrons and reactive molecules that govern cellular metabolism. The team collaborated with redox biology experts to better understand an oxidant molecule called superoxide, which plays a role in type 2 diabetes. The experiments suggest that EMFs alter the signaling of superoxide molecules, specifically in the liver, which leads to the prolonged activation of an antioxidant response to rebalance the body’s redox set point and the response to insulin.

Because of the success from the mice trials, the team also treated human liver cells. After six hours of EMF treatment, the cells’ surrogate marker for insulin sensitivity improved significantly, suggesting that the EMFs may also produce the same anti-diabetic effect in humans. The study has now moved onto larger animals, with a goal of human trials, and providing this as a viable solution for people. Carter and Huang, along with Carter’s brother Walter, have founded Geminii Health, to develop wearable devices with this technology.

Are you developing a new treatment, product or process? Did you know your R&D experiments could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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