Annual Meeting Special Sessions

Preliminary reliminary Details of Annual Meeting SPECIAL Sessions

The upcoming 30th Annual Meeting will have four sessions that have been designed to review topics of longstanding interest to the Society:

  • Joachim Schüz has organized a roundtable to review and discuss the Interphone Study results related to cell phones and brain tumors (see article in the January/February 2008 newsletter). Does longer exposure increase the risk?
  • Bob Cleveland has arranged a review of RF and ELF exposure standards. Are current standards enough? How else can risk be assessed?
  • Darius Leszczynski has organized a symposium to review the mechanisms of interaction between magnetic fields and biological tissues. Does new evidence explain the transduction step?
  • Carl Blackman and Martin Blank have organized a session on Bioelectromagnetics in society. Can we learn more about risk assessment from other disciplines?

Meeting organizers hope that the interactive format of these sessions will stimulate important cross-disciplinary discussions amongst members.

The meeting will also have special sessions focusing on medical applications of magnetic fields. These fall roughly into three categories:

  1. The Bench-to-Bedside Plenary sessions will address clinical disorders in which electromagnetic field-generating devices may supplement conventional therapy.
  2. Arthur Pilla has gathered a group of experts in EMF therapeutics. This session will inform us about progress and clinical potential of pulsed EMF.
  3. Guests from the Thermal Medicine Society tell us about research in their Society in a special symposium. We welcome the Thermal Medicine Society (see articles in this issue of the newsletter).

The Bench-to-Bedside Plenary sessions are planned to focus on four different topics: biofilms, neuroprotection, fibromyalgia, and bone healing using fields. To give readers a preliminary look at what is planned, organizer Michael McLean provides us with these details:


Biofilm-related problems cost US industry billions of dollars annually and cause major medical problems through infecting host tissues, harboring bacteria that contaminate drinking water, and causing rejection of medical implants. Speakers on this topic include:

Robin Patel, MD

- Professor of Medicine and Microbiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester Minnesota., - Departments of Infectious Disease and Mayo Clinic Transplant Center

- Research interests include: Biofilm-mediated infections, Vancomycin-resistant enterococci and other vancomycin-resistant Gram positive organisms, including molecular epidemiology, therapy, clinical epidemiology and pathogenesis of such infections, Paenibacillus popilliae Mechanism of vancomycin-resistance in this vancomycin-resistant biopesticide, Novel approaches to prosthetic joint infection diagnosis, Novel antimicrobial agents for therapy of bacterial infections including in vitro studies and in vivo studies (rabbit endocarditis, mouse pneumonia, and rat osteomyelitis models), and human trials.

Bruce McLeod, PhD

-Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Center for Biofilm Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana. Past President of BEMS.

-Research interests include: Enhanced bacterial biofilm control using electromagnetic fields in combination with antibiotics. Electromagnetic fields in biological materials.


Loss of nerve cells is a major cause of disability resulting from stroke, trauma and epilepsy, to name just a few disorders of the brain. A vast effort to understand how neurons die and minimize neuronal loss has evolved into the field of neuroprotection. Aggressive research programs are testing a variety of potential therapeutic modalities. Speakers on this topic include:

William Pulsinelli, MD, PhD

-Semmes-Murphey Professor & Chairman, Department of Neurology and Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Memphis, Tennessee.

-Research interests include: Human and animal research to define how disturbances of blood flow and metabolism cause dysfunction and damage to brain cells. We seek to identify the molecular basis for ischemic (loss of blood flow) injury to brain and for the phenomenon of 'selective vulnerability', i.e. the unique sensitivity of specific brain neurons to a lack of oxygen and glucose. More recent research interests focus on the genetic and environmental factors that predispose to increasing the frequency and severity of stroke.

Raphael Lee, MD, ScD, DSc (Hon)

-Professor of Surgery, Medicine (Dermatology), Organismal Biology and Anatomy (Biomechanics) and Molecular Medicine, University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois Director of Electrical Trauma Program

- Research interests: Protecting cells with antioxidant surfactants. Neuroprotection with Polaxamer-188, other surfactants and antioxidants.


Fibromyalgia affects about 2% of the US population. It is associated with considerable morbidity. The pathophysiology is poorly understood. Many physicians question the existence of the syndrome and often refuse to treat patients with fibromyalgia or are unaware of FDA approved agents for its treatment. As a result, many patients are inadequately treated. Speakers on this topic include:

Kiokazu Yoshida, MD, PhD

-Chair and Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Hirakata Hospital, Kansai Medical University, Osaka, Japan.

-Clinical interests: fibromyalgia, pain

Alex Thomas, PhD

-CIHR Industry Chair in Bioelectromagnetics, Lawson Health Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada. Co-founder with Dr. Frank Prato of Fralex Therapeutics in 1998.

-Research interests: development of neuromodulation technology, a therapy to alleviate chronic pain. The cell phone-sized technology, complete with altered headphones, works by disrupting pain signals in the brain.


This FDA approved approach to the treatment of poorly healing bone fractures has been available for clinical use for two decades. Of 6 million extremity fractures that occur annually in the US, 5-10% (roughly 300,000-600,000) are complicated by nonunion or delayed union. This session will update BEMS on progress with PEMF therapy, address factors that have limited dissemination of the technique and propose potential new applications. Speakers on this topic include:

Fred R. T. Nelson, MD

Fred Nelson-Senior Attending Staff: Orthopaedic Surgery, Henry Ford, Hospital, Detroit, Michigan and Adjunct Associate Professor, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

-Research interests: use of physical forces in bone healing.

Arthur Pilla, PhD

-Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, New York, New York.

-Research interests: therapeutic uses of pulsed electromagnetic fields; EMF therapeutics.