In Case You Missed It

1. Previously, it has only been possible to measure electric fields across cell membranes, not within the main bulk of cells. Now, using novel voltage-sensitive nanoparticles, researchers report finding electric fields inside cells as strong as those produced in lightning bolts. It’s not clear what causes these strong fields or what they might mean, but researchers hope to learn about disease states such as cancer by studying these electric fields.

Bourzac, Katherine. “Lightning Bolts within Cells”, Technology Review, Monday, December 10, 2007

2. The widespread use of mobile phones has been accompanied by controversy over possible adverse health effects of the electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation emitted by them. Recent work showing that the radiation emitted by ordinary mobile phones can cause subtle biological effects in tissues, such as alteration in the protein expression of certain genes active in the exposed tissues and increased phosphorylation is covered in India’s national magazine, Frontline.

3. Do funding sources bias the published research? Two articles examine some aspects of this ongoing debate.

“Conflict” Chills Research

The Real Scare-Mongers

4. The primary journal of IEEE (Spectrum) recently published articles that looked at whether the safety of TASERs depends upon whether heart or skeletal muscles are triggered, based in part on articles published in other biomedical journals:

Wu, Jiun-Yan et al., Taser Dart-to-Heart Distance That Causes Ventricular Fibrillation in Pigs., IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, March 2007, Volume: 54, Issue: 3, pp 503-508.

Stracbucker, R. et al., Cardiac safety of high voltage TASER X26 waveform.; Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 2003. Proceedings of the 25th Annual International Conference of the IEEE, 17-21 Sept. 2003, Volume: 4, pp 3261- 3262.