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  #51  
Old 11-23-2012, 05:38 PM
Chicago Stonepro Chicago Stonepro is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
So in other words, you don't have a quantum argument, nor anything resembling one.

Seriously, people, quantum mechanics is not just a matter of "The Universe is really friggin' weird, man, and therefore anything that's weird must be true". If it were that simple, we'd be teaching it in elementary school.
I actually do, and it follows pretty clearly, for anyone actually interested. I didn't figure this thread needed to turn any further into that discussion. My point is, the phenomenon can't definitively be ruled out, IMO, because, while there's a lot of pointless discussion about it, there's almost no well-conducted, objective, science based research.

Medical magnetics is done all the time, but it's diagnostic - MRI. At one time, the idea to use magnets as a diagnostic tool was considered rather off-beat, but today, it's big money - and effective, too.

I absolutely agree with you, about physics comprehension. Richard Feynman, in the preface to Six Easy Pieces, after teaching physics in his freshman-sophomore lecture series at Cal-Tech, came to the conclusion that quantum mechanics was best taught beyond second-year university level.

That was in 1963. Today, we have the Higgs field, Super String Theory, and Spooky Action at a Distance, yet most of us still have a hard time thinking even of reality as being four-dimensional - forget about ten dimensions, or of effects that don't depend on space-time at all, bypassing speed of light limitations.

We can't observe any of these things directly, but it's all at work supporting our reality, whether or not we know about them. Even physicists aren't exactly sure WHY electricity works, even though HOW it works is well understood.

I am asserting that a sufficient body of rationally constructed studies doesn't yet exist about the effectiveness of magnetic therapies.

Your accusation that I'm asserting that quantum physics amounts to "just because something is weird it must be true", is absolutely wrong.
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  #52  
Old 11-23-2012, 05:42 PM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
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How many studies would be enough, in your opinion?
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  #53  
Old 11-23-2012, 06:02 PM
Chicago Stonepro Chicago Stonepro is offline
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Originally Posted by dropzone View Post
Um, a compass app doesn't really have a magnetized needle nor is it affected by Magnetic North, right? I assume it works by interpreting your GPS coordinates or it triangulates your position based on local cell towers. A train car is an inefficient Faraday cage and your phone is a radio so it's already struggling for a decent signal and a passing train just messes up the signal more. There's electromagnetism aplenty at work but none of it is from a lump of magnetite.
Actually, the GPS was turned off during that experience.

Smartphones actually do sense magnetic fields, having solid-state compasses built-in. Depending on the app, one can improve the accuracy slightly by turning on the GPS, and enabling the correction function.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compas...tate_compasses

Modern diesel locomotives are actually diesel powered generators that produce electicity for an electric drive. That's why the needle spun around every time one went by in the opposite direction. A large magnetic field was zooming by.
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  #54  
Old 11-23-2012, 06:07 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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Ya lives and learns. Thanks, and I apologize for being the one who assumed you were the idiot, not me.
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  #55  
Old 11-23-2012, 08:35 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
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Originally Posted by Chicago Stonepro View Post
Smartphones actually do sense magnetic fields, having solid-state compasses built-in. Depending on the app, one can improve the accuracy slightly by turning on the GPS, and enabling the correction function.
I should have realized that - I even have an app for that: Tricorder. Yep, it is styled after a ST:Next Gen tricorder graphics, and has gravity, acoustic, magnetic field, geographic, cellular and wifi status, and solar activity tabs. The geo tab has a compass that looks like is shows magnetic and true north. I need to look up the website for more info.
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  #56  
Old 11-24-2012, 02:40 AM
gamerunknown gamerunknown is offline
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Originally Posted by Chicago Stonepro View Post
I actually do, and it follows pretty clearly, for anyone actually interested. I didn't figure this thread needed to turn any further into that discussion.
It's entirely on topic.
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  #57  
Old 11-24-2012, 09:13 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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I actually do, and it follows pretty clearly, for anyone actually interested. I didn't figure this thread needed to turn any further into that discussion.
OK, let's start out simple, then. What Hamiltonian are you using for the magnetic field, and what gauge condition are you applying for the vector potential? Once we've got that settled, then you can start posting the calculations.
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  #58  
Old 12-03-2012, 10:46 AM
ciroa ciroa is offline
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Well, actually, THERE IS a plausible explanation of how magnets COULD suppress pain.

Pain is conveyed through electric signals in nerves. Magnets suppress electric signals in wires.

I guess most of you have observed wires with a contraption attached to it: it's called an RF choke or Ferrite bead (it depends on the type). This thing sometimes is made of a magnet. This contraption suppress radio frequencies.

For example:

RF choke: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choke_(electronics)

More common, Ferrite Bead: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrite_bead

So, at least in some applications a magnet (actually, a ferrite core) is used to suppress some frequencies out of wire (frequencies that come out as noise on your screen or PC).

I guess it is possible then to use a magnet to suppress some frequencies out of a nerve.

Note that this magnets or chokes are NOT able to suppress all current. This explains why you do not become numb when placing a magnet on your skin (duh).

However, as pain is "expressed" as a change in the electrical signal that goes over the nerve, it is IMAGINABLE that you could use a magnet to eliminate the frequencies that transmit pain.

QED.
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  #59  
Old 12-03-2012, 11:59 AM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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ciroa, your argument is as good as any I've heard on a university barstool, but again: if you can't prove the effect, there's little point in trying to explain how the effect happens.

I'll also point out that humans are exposed to enormous magnetic fields every day without the slightest ability to sense them - if your theory were true, megagauss fields would have some noticeable effect on nerve action. A few little cobalt magnets on your wrist - well, you're talking about the same degree of interaction as those who claim the positions of the planets have gravitational influence on people, never mind that the person sitting next to you is exterting many times the grav force of even the Moon.

Prove the effect exists, first. Then worry about how it works.
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  #60  
Old 12-03-2012, 01:37 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
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ciroa, when MRI machines used in hospitals for diagnostics have zero measurable effect on pain relief, it is ridiculous to try to argue that kitchen magnets can do anything but placebo.
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  #61  
Old 12-03-2012, 08:13 PM
John W. Kennedy John W. Kennedy is offline
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Not to mention that magnets don’t cause numbness or paralysis.
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John W. Kennedy
"The blind rulers of Logres
Nourished the land on a fallacy of rational virtue."
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  #62  
Old 12-04-2012, 02:13 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
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According to ciroa, the reason magnets don't cause numbness or paralysis is because the magnets are working as a kind of "choke" or high frequency signal filter. Supposedly then regular sense and muscle activity are low frequency signals, while pain is a high frequency signal. Thus, putting a choke on the signal line will eliminate the pain but allow the other sensations through.

Not that I agree, but that is what his explanation claims. Thus he addressed your point.
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  #63  
Old 12-04-2012, 02:20 PM
GRobLewis GRobLewis is offline
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GPS has nothing to do with magnetism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago Stonepro View Post
Actually, the GPS was turned off during that experience.

Smartphones actually do sense magnetic fields, having solid-state compasses built-in. Depending on the app, one can improve the accuracy slightly by turning on the GPS, and enabling the correction function.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compas...tate_compasses

Modern diesel locomotives are actually diesel powered generators that produce electicity for an electric drive. That's why the needle spun around every time one went by in the opposite direction. A large magnetic field was zooming by.
GPS has nothing whatsoever to do with magnetism (except that the satellite signals are electromagnetic waves). You cannot, repeat cannot, duplicate the function of a compass with GPS. If you are moving, GPS can tell what direction you're moving in by comparing successive locations. If you're standing still, it only knows where you are, not which direction you're pointed!
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  #64  
Old 12-26-2012, 08:22 AM
ciroa ciroa is offline
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Originally Posted by NitroPress View Post
... if you can't prove the effect, there's little point in trying to explain how the effect happens.
...

Prove the effect exists, first. Then worry about how it works.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
ciroa, when MRI machines used in hospitals for diagnostics have zero measurable effect on pain relief, it is ridiculous to try to argue that kitchen magnets can do anything but placebo.
Well, I wasn't trying to prove that magnets work for pain relief. Frankly, if you ask me, they don't until there is a proof and this proof is peer reviewed, as you say.

I'm an engineer and a scientist: in principle, I do not believe in what I see, much less in what I hear.

However, I am not saying that magnets work for pain relief.

I am disputing Cecil assertion (gulps!) when he said in his answer to this issue "... no one's proposed a plausible physiological explanation for how magnetism does its stuff on the body's cells. (I don't mean all that crap in the ads about "negative and positive ion energy levels"; I mean something you could say in the lab without having everyone roll their eyes.) ".

THE MASTER WAS WRONG, period. There is a base and it is used routinely in electric gadgets. I do not know if it works, but the POSSIBLE effect definitely exists.

Thus, Cecil was wrong.

However, I agree with the rest of Cecil's answer: as I said, I'm an engineer and, if I'm allowed to put it this way, engineering is the art of discerning what's probable and what's possible.

So, if you ask me: possible? Yes. Probable? No.

Hence, when Cecil said: "possible? No.", he was wrong.

Now, on the subject of magnets working, if you want, dear NitroPress, to call my suggestion a barstool talk, please, review the NIH conclusion on magnets, if you ask for proof

(and remember: proofs are always conflicting, at least in my field of work, so you have to develop "a sense for nonsense", as I do routinely and daily, but that's not the point, or so I think: I DO NOT "BELIEVE" IN MAGNETS FOR PAIN. Actually, I believe nothing, except in people and perhaps in Cecil's answers, oh, great grandmaster of general-answers newspaper columns):

"Preliminary studies looking at different types of pain—such as knee, hip, wrist, foot, back, and pelvic pain—have had mixed results. Some of these studies, including a 2007 clinical trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health that looked at back pain in a small group of people, have suggested a benefit from using magnets. However, many studies have not been of high quality; they included a small number of participants, were too short, and/or were inadequately controlled. The majority of rigorous trials, however, have found no effect on pain." http://nccam.nih.gov/health/magnet/magnetsforpain.htm

It is inescapable to conclude that SOME studies (not the majority) have shown effects. Also that NIH, at least for a time ("... including a 2007 clinical trial..."), thought that magnets are useful.

I agree with both of you: we have no technology... yet. But the basic knowledge of nerves, electricity and magnets suggest that it is DOABLE. I don't know if someone will some day do it, but that's a different issue.

In fact, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation is already working, btw, for diabetic neuropathy, and that's proven. The conclusion is this:

"Recommendations: Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) is not recommended for the treatment of chronic low back pain (Level A). TENS should be considered in the treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy (Level B). Further research into the mechanism of action of TENS is needed, as well as more rigorous studies for determination of efficacy." http://www.neurology.org/content/74/2/173

QED.
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  #65  
Old 12-26-2012, 10:59 AM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ciroa View Post
I am disputing Cecil assertion (gulps!) when he said in his answer to this issue "... no one's proposed a plausible physiological explanation for how magnetism does its stuff on the body's cells. (I don't mean all that crap in the ads about "negative and positive ion energy levels"; I mean something you could say in the lab without having everyone roll their eyes.) ".

THE MASTER WAS WRONG, period. There is a base and it is used routinely in electric gadgets. I do not know if it works, but the POSSIBLE effect definitely exists.

Thus, Cecil was wrong.
You are saying there is a "possible" beneficial health effect of magnets (despite most quality studies not demonstrating it), and thus Cecil is wrong to say there is no plausible physiologic mechanism behind it. This doesn't make sense - having a minority of relatively poor-quality studies showing benefit says nothing about existence of a plausible explanation behind it.

Again, there's a parallel with homeopathy. Rigorous, quality studies overwhelmingly show no health benefits beyond placebo. Homeopathy supporters begin with an assumption that homeopathy does work, and have come up with dubious theories to explain the dubious benefits.
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  #66  
Old 12-26-2012, 01:39 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ciroa View Post
I am disputing Cecil assertion (gulps!) when he said in his answer to this issue "... no one's proposed a plausible physiological explanation for how magnetism does its stuff on the body's cells. (I don't mean all that crap in the ads about "negative and positive ion energy levels"; I mean something you could say in the lab without having everyone roll their eyes.) ".

THE MASTER WAS WRONG, period. There is a base and it is used routinely in electric gadgets. I do not know if it works, but the POSSIBLE effect definitely exists.
Please elaborate on how magnetism reacts to possibly reduce pain. Because that is what Cecil was addressing.


Quote:
Hence, when Cecil said: "possible? No.", he was wrong.
Try as I might, I cannot find the string "possible? No." in Cecil's article. The only text search hit on "possible" on that page is the title of a completely different article.


Quote:
"Preliminary studies looking at different types of pain—such as knee, hip, wrist, foot, back, and pelvic pain—have had mixed results. ...

It is inescapable to conclude that SOME studies (not the majority) have shown effects. Also that NIH, at least for a time ("... including a 2007 clinical trial..."), thought that magnets are useful.
I looked at your link. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is a branch of the NIH that was created to "give alternative medicine a fair chance". It specifically looks at stuff that the regular NIH ignores as sketchy. Looking at the page you link, it says

Quote:
Scientific evidence does not support the use of magnets for pain relief.
I'm sure you saw that sentence, as it is right above the paragraph you quoted. The one that said

Quote:
However, many studies have not been of high quality; they included a small number of participants, were too short, and/or were inadequately controlled. The majority of rigorous trials, however, have found no effect on pain.
In other words, small inadequately controlled short-term tests gave weakly positive results, but better quality tests show negative results. That's an astounding level of support for using magnets for pain relief.


Quote:
In fact, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation is already working, btw, for diabetic neuropathy, and that's proven.
TENS is direct electrical stimulation of nerves and does not use magnets.
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  #67  
Old 05-09-2017, 10:18 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Bumped because the column is back on the front page. Any more interesting or useful research on the topic since it first appeared in 1999, or is it still junk(y) science?
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  #68  
Old 05-09-2017, 11:08 AM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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There is an addendum in that a "magnetic field loop" has recently invaded veterinary medicine. I started a thread about it perhaps six months ago, and the conclusion was that it was overstated woo even though there were a few papers showing very powerful magnetic fields did something related to healing. However, an overpriced, watch-battery-powered device was almost certainly woo.

The site is VERY impressive and even links to the relevant papers... which, when you read them, have almost nothing to do with the stated claims. (Healing in animals. Magnetic fields are involved to uncertain effect. End of paper.) They are being promoted by giving free units to vet techs across the country who happen to write blogs and so forth.

Let's see... here it is. http://www.assisianimalhealth.com/

ETA - I guess you could say "at least they aren't preying on children, or humans"... but they are preying on worried animal owners, and I don't rank that very much lower in the scum-sucking shitwad category.

Last edited by Amateur Barbarian; 05-09-2017 at 11:10 AM..
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  #69  
Old 05-09-2017, 12:13 PM
Doubticus Doubticus is offline
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There is a lot of woo out there to be sure. However, I do find the results of the test interesting. Not knowing the particulars of the test environment, it makes it impossible to know the influence of the placebo effect, but given how our nervous system is electro/chemical in nature, it may be that a magnetic field could interfere with the pain signaling. But of course there would have to be studies to show that it is possible and prior to that, more studies to show that the effect is real to begin with.
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  #70  
Old 05-10-2017, 09:07 AM
Haldurson Haldurson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psythe View Post
Original article here

Cecil said (paraphrasing) that the main problem with using magnets for analgesia is that physics doesn't say why they should help.

I would hope that, in the face of randomised placebo controlled trials of sufficient size and rigor, the scientific community would shrug and say "well, we obviously have a bit of work to do to catch up with you guys and we may yet find out what was wrong with this study which returns the results to consistency with the rest of what we know, but while we're investigating go ahead and use them".

To paraphrase someone else, the coolest phrase to hear from a scientist is not "Eureka!" but "That's interesting...."
One problem is that you only have ONE study with 50 people in it that shows a positive effect. I know that there have been a lot more studies over the years on the possible effects of magnets on the human body. That One showed a positive effect is likely to be within the realm of statistical noise. Anyone who's suffered from pain from any number of conditions knows that it waxes and wains. They could have been studying the effect of the full moon on pain, and gotten the same exact results in one study.

I know that while I was at Caltech, around 1979 or so, there was research on the effects of very strong magnetic fields on the human body, and they failed to find ANY effect whatsoever at that time (I had a friend who was assisting with that study).

Whenever you hear that there was 'one study' that showed X, especially one that only had 50 data points, you have to take it with a ton of salt. The scientific method requires reproducability. Unfortunately for believers in magnets, the vast bulk of research shows no effect beyond placebo for magnets on ANYTHING other than picking up iron filings, and the paperclips and sticking to refrigerators.
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