Betreff: Magnetoreception and electrosensitivity
Von: "rowsteroz"
Datum: Thu, 28 Oct 2004 06:15:45 -0000


     Summary:  There is a stream of evidence and
     opinion      that      indicates       that
     magnetoreception in animals may be  related
     to        the       phenomenon        named
     `electrosensitivity'   (ES)   in    humans,
     outlined    briefly   here.    The    human
     magnetoreception  sense is  discussed,  and
     defects in it that could explain ES in some
     people predisposed with various pathologies
     are   described,  as  well  as   supporting
     evidence from research. Importantly, anmials
     are now known to be able to detect one tho-
     sandth of the background radiation of the

      Magnetoreception is the sense that some animals
use  to  measure  the  earth's  magnetic  field,  for
purposes  of  navigation. Homing  pigeons,  migrating
birds, honey bees that need to return to their  hives
and  many  others  locate magnetic north  with  their
magnetoreception sensory system- they have more  than
the   commonly   considered  five  external   senses.
Apparently so might we humans.

       The   magnetoreception  system  appears  quite
complicated, and is not fully understood yet, but  is
thought to be primarily driven by tiny little magnets
embedded in creatures. These magnets are small pieces
of  magnetite, or other magnetic minerals.  Magnetite
can  be  produced  by  bacteria called  magnetotactic
bacteria,  that swim in the direction of  the  earths
magnetic  field.  These  magnets  form  part  of  the
magnetic  sense  that  also  takes  its  inputs  from
sunlight,   certain   nerves,   and   in   some   the
polarization of the local electric field of light. It
is  also now considered that the red blood cells  may
play  a  role  in this system. In some creatures  the
system  interfaces with the pineal  gland  (melatonin
body clock). There are a few different magnetosensory
systems,  and they can operate differently  depending
on the time of day.

     For  example  homing pigeons were  magnetization
changed  on  overcast days, and their homing  ability
seemed  to  be  impaired, whereas  with  the  altered
magnetization  scrambling their  magnetoreception  on
sunny days they could still navigate. Their could  be
a  number of possible explanations for this, such  as
utilization of other sensory cues on sunny days,  and

     For one idea, consider the following. If you are
lost  in the bush and want to navigate, then  if  you
have  a watch, and can see the sun, you can calculate
north from this combination, as they teach in scouts,
assuming  you  know the season. From  time  and  sun,
calculate  north.  Or from sun and  north,  calculate
time  of  day. Given any two of three variables,  you
can  calculate  the  third,  assuming  you  know  the

      Birds that travel  look at the sun; instead  of
being blinded by looking into it, some creatures  can
look at the polarization of its rays. Some travel  at
night,  and migrate via the stars or moon instead  of
the sun. This is not all understood yet.

     So a sense of time and sense of direction appear
to  possibly be linked. If you took the magnetite out
of  a  homing pigeon's head, maybe it could not  tell
the   time?  This  would  need  to  be  checked  with
circadian studies.

     The makeup in a birds head is complex, involving
pineal gland, magnetite, eye sensors, in some species
some  nerves. The pineal involvement may reflect  the
above suggested link of time of day and navigation.
     If  there is injury to these systems, navigation
or maybe body clock could be impaired. For example it
has  now  been found that migrating birds have  their
sense of direction damaged by radiofrequency EMR,  in
important  studies by Ritz et al. They exposed  birds
to broad spectrum RF 0.1- 10 MHz at a very low level,
and  by varying its direction showed that they  could
scramble birds' magnetoreception. As described below,
ELF  magnetic  field  can  interfere  with  magnetite
magnets  in a creatures brains, but not RF.  The  new
research is showing that apparently another mechanism
is   also   at  work  in  magnetoreception.  Chemical
reactions (radical pair reactions considered to be in
the  eye)  are affected by RF according  to  advanced
theory. In experiments the researchers scrambled this
light        dependent        magnetic        compass
(photomagnetoreceptor)  with a  resonant  oscillating
FIELD  STRENGTH. As well as being a wonder of nature,
for   electrosensitivity  research,  this  is  surely
     One of the main workers in this field Kirschvink
reports that he believes the magnetosensory system is
only  capable  of responding to ELF magnetic  fields,
less  than say 10 or so Hz, due to the nature of  the
magnetic  particles. As mentioned below, human  heart
conditions  are  now shown to be  affected  in  these
frequency  ranges  by  geomagnetic  magnetic   fields
(Otsuka  et  al),  depending on  light-  dark  cycle.
Russian   EMR  research  and  ES  research  find   an
association of EMR with heart conditions, and ES  has
found the same, discussed below. Possibly newer  work
in   this  field  will  reveal  a  greater  frequency
response of the magnetosensory system.
     There  are  some  phenomena that  indicate  that
animals  magnetoreception may be being  scrambled  by
humans-  it is possibly involved in whale strandings,
and  some  believe on lesser evidence  declining  bee
health and birds slamming into radar towers.
     Whale  stranding is not totally understood,  but
magnetic  anomalies are thought to  be a main  cause.
Stranded  whales are often found at places where  the
magnetic   field  is  perpendicular  to   its   usual
direction.  Also  it is thought that  naval  military
activity  is  implicated. Mid range  frequency  sonar
from  military exercises has been blamed. Whales  are
found  to  have been disoriented prior to  stranding.
Submarines  also communicate via ELF  radiation  (the
kind   considered  a  problem  above),  and   produce
electromagnetic disturbances. Opinion  is  that  some
whale  sense  is being disoriented by  some  form  of
radiation (EMR or sonar).
     Also many birds slam into radar towers with high
death tolls. Some don't see the towers in the dark or
fog  and blind crash (see  ),  but
most circle around the tower lights entranced
somehow, and crash into the guy wires. Some research
has shown transient disorientation on the birds by
the towers' RF from tracking radars. However at that
range, maybe the birds are in the near field of
radiation from these towers, which could affect their
magnetoreception in a different way. The light is
considered to play the primary role, and light is
related to their retinal magnetoreception. But when
schooling fish see light in the dark they also
cluster around it. When birds are preparing to
migrate they are similarly in a state of overpowering
migration unrest. Researchers have found some non
thermal effects of pulsed microwaves on skull nerves
of the birds, but do not know the relationship. VLF
high power military radar was shown to effect chicks,
but this is very strong. Thus research on animal
disorientation is incomplete, but may need to be
further investigated in the light of the new above RF


Humans are thought to also probably have
magnetoreception. Studies by RR Baker formerly of
Manchester University are described in his book
`Human Navigation and Magnetoreception' (1989),
although these await successful follow up. Dr Baker
performed experiments by blindfolding and
disorienting subjects, and showing that they could
still indicate north and navigate. Other experiments
were done scrambling the system with specifically
placed fixed magnets stuck to heads and other
misorientors and disorientors. We seem to have the
same magnetic compass that animals have, with
magnetic material throughout the brain, at the top of
our noses near the ethmoid sinus, and possibly near
the pituitary gland. Some evidence is that pacific
island seafarers may have used this sense in sea
migration. If you want to get somewhere, just follow
your nose. The nose knows.

If humans do have such a sense, then it would
clearly be a candidate for research under the modern
unnatural exposure levels to EMR in proximity of
appliances and in the background of all public
places. Also anything that interferes significantly
with the magnetosensory organs could make them more
vulnerable to environmental illness.

Dr Baker considered all of this in his 1989
book, and there are numerous literature referrals to
the possibility. Dr Baker considered whether effects
of cigarette smoke, polyester clothing (static
charge), alcohol, and sinus infection might affect
human magnetoreception. All of these are implicated
in symptom aggravation in groups of
electrosensitives. Their effect on magnetoreception
was not clear cut, with misorientations not entirely
distinguishable from misorientations that would be
produced in an otherwise healthy person, but the
confluence of research directions is interesting.

Recently, mobile phone radiation has been shown
to effect magnetite producing bacteria, killing them
off (Cranfield et al Mar 2003, `Preliminary
evaluation of nanoscale biogenic magnetite-based
ferromagnetic transduction mechanisms for mobile
phone bioeffects'). This may be important. These
experiments were carried out with a real mobile
phone, and showed

`Experimental evaluation revealed that
exposure to mobile phone emissions resulted in
a consistent and significantly higher
proportion of cell death in exposed cultures
versus sham exposure'

For some reason, maybe to control all variables,
these experiments were repeated by the researchers,
however using an artificially produced kind of mobile
phone radiation in an emulator called REFLEX, and to
the contrary these later studies show no significant
effect, creating the illusion of safety. However the
initial study with a real mobile phone did clearly
appear to show a damaging of these magnetite-
producing bacteria. These experiments should be
repeated, and advanced upon if there is more to find,
using larger real world doses of radiation, and
possibly broad spectrum mobile phone scanners. It was
thought in these studies that the ELF magnetic
signals and protocol signals are causing the
bioeffects, in alignment with Kirschvink's magnetite

Returning to ES, nerves such as trigeminal in
the transequatorial migratory bird, the bobolink,
were mentioned as being implicated in
magnetoreception. A patient with multiple sclerosis
of facial nerves, or an impeded ocular nerve could
have a scrambled magnetosensory system. I know one
with that condition and a very severe case of ES.
Metal dental amalgam fillings, known to be associated
with ES, produce oral galvanic currents via
electrolysis, which can scramble facial nerves in the
vicinity of the ethmoid sinus. These currents should
produce micro magnetic field disturbances in that
region, with possibly some flux linkage. Maybe
chewing could produce ELF flux linkage. Also metal
implants act as microaerials for RF similar to that
used on the birds above, planted right next to the
proposed magnetosensory system. Additionally the
mercury released is known to be able to cause nerve
damage. ES patients are warned to stay away from
fungi and candida for unknown reasons. Fungi upset
bacterial balance, which could potentially affect
magnetotactic bacteria, and also spores can get into
the nasal passages. Also ES people are more often
than not sensitive to chemicals, which could be a
sign of aggravation of the nasal or trigeminal nerves
involved both in chemoreception and magnetoreception.
This would require further research, but trigemenal
and vomeronasal organ irritation have both been
suggested in multiple chemical sensitivities. The
facial nerves could simultaneously handle
chemoreception and magnetoreception by the above
radical pair reactions, or some variant thereof,
producing the overlap of ES and MCS. Red blood cells
are suspected of being involved in magnetoreception
by some sources. Haemoglobin is predicted by computer
models to be affected by microwave radiation,
according to Zago M, D'Inzeo and Palombo, who
researched microwave effects on zinc protoporphyrin.
The large chelated molecules are slightly unstable
with respect to microwaves, affecting the metabolism
of iron. If red blood cells were part of
magnetoreception, this could create a problem,
possibly for ES. This porphyrin system is also
responsible for detoxifying the blood, a weakness of
which may be related speculatively to chemical
sensitivities. A more thorough analysis would be
needed. Russian radiofrequency illness affects in
workers and military personnel concentrates on heart
conditions, and says that after protracted (say 3
years) of exposure, the condition is permanent in
these patients. The new Japanese heart rate
variability related to geomagnetism below ELF may be
appropriate here, and ES as listed below shows same
heart problems.

In an informal survey of ES in Electrical
Sensitivity News ISSN 1086-2897 Vol 5 No 2, available
on a newsgroup, by far the most prominent symptoms
over many others were listed in order of frequency

multiple chemical sensitivity 43
headache/ headpain 21
confusion/ disorientation/ difficulty thinking
and/ or memory loss/ lapse 19
fatigue 17
cardiac arrhythmia/ heart irregularities/
palpitations and/ or chest pain/ pressure
burning and/ or itching skin 9
insomnia 9

Other than skin, these would appear to back up
the arguments above.

The primary symptoms of ES from multiple
evidence sources including mobile phone tower
radiation studies and British and other numerous
independent civilian and military data, are sleep
disorders, and memory problems/ headaches/ nausea,
and skin problems possibly related to
photosensitivity. A scrambled magnetosensory system
has been proposed above to damage the body clock.
This might account for sleep problems and a permanent
case of jetlag. Indeed jetlag itself may be related
to radiation exposure or alterations in geomagnetism
in flight. Memory problems, headache and nausea are
typical of disorientation (scrambled navigation).

Melatonin has long been thought to be involved
in radiation related health complaints. Magnetic
field effects on melatonin level studies have been
many and varied, and it seems as though melatonin
effects may be modulated not only by magnetic fields,
but also by UV and light- dark. Once again, these
factors are linked in magnetoreception. Human
subjects and homing pigeons with calcified pineal
glands had defective sense of direction in a Bayliss
CR 1985. Some sleep studies show altered sleep
patterns in teenagers that are thought to be caused
by EMR emissions from modern electronic multimedia
devices, as opposed to teenagers just staying up late
having a good time. Screen trance of some sort.

Some individuals experience serotonin irritation
syndrome with certain weather conditions. It is
believed that either positive air ionization, or low
frequency electromagnetic activity in the atmosphere
preceding thunderstorms or with certain hot winds
provoke this, as well as two other health effect
subtypes. Serotonin is a precursor of melatonin. If
the body clock in the pineal wanted to stop itself in
response to electromagnetic activity by putting the
brakes on, it could possibly lead to this buildup of
the melatonin precursor serotonin. Once again

Research on computer monitor related illness,
video operator distress syndrome, apparently a
manifestation of ES, has focused on light effects and
EMR. Video operator distress was discovered about 20
years ago and linked to dental amalgams about 10.
According to one source, when we look at a computer
monitor we use our night vision, or `dark focus'. All
of these concepts come together in magnetoreception.
Some birds have confusing interactions with the light
spectrum and intensity when operating
magnetoreception. These may come into play looking
into a computer monitor with an unnatural fluorescent
light source coupled with EMR and ELF/ VLF low level
magnetic fields. One producer of ES shielded monitor
claims that the most difficult though important part
of his work is shielding low level, low frequency
magnetic fields. Another manufacturer has stated
independently that he believes that the
magnetosensory system is damaged in ES, and he
attempts to address that with hand held worry ball
magnets. He says strong commercial therapeutic
magnets have an overwhelming and negative effect on
ES, and ES have to start with the smaller weaker ones
of a manufacturer. In his commercial experience, when
the worry balls can be spun up as close as the face,
ES is found to be gone.

The human brain is known to react on EEG to 60
Hz magnetic fields of double the background of the
earth (Marino AA et al), supporting some of this.

Some ES are reported to strongly react to
flicker from light sources around about 60 Hz.
Flicker can be more visible to a damaged human visual
system using peripheral vision retinal receptors, and
could also be indicative of epileptiform behaviour in
stressed ocular nerves, nerves that probably also
carry extra magnetic field information.

Some ES react more to high frequency EMR, some
to low. Apart from magnetoreception, there is an
animal sense called electroreception, not currently
thought to be present in humans. For example
`electrosensitive' (same term) sharks can detect
voltage differences of 0.1 milli Volts! Obviously
very sensitive. An electrosensitive pulse gymnotid
funnels electrical information to its perioral region
where there is an electrosensory fovea with a large
density and variety of receptors. This region is also
affected with electrical activity in oral
electrogalvanism in ES due to dental amalgams. While
it is thought most probable that humans do not have
the same kind of electroreception as animals, we do
perceive E fields under some conditions and this
animal electroreception should not be forgotten.


It is an appealingly straightforward hypothesis
that a subgroup of humans with the condition
`electrosensitivity', and mobile phone responders,
might be humans that have vulnerable or damaged or
sensitized magnetoreception systems. This is a purely
scientific explanation, and should be readily
testable. Alternatively, altered magnetoreception in
ES if it existed could be part of an overall sensory
integration problem. Much of the evidence presented
here has been preliminary and not firmly resolved,
however ES symptoms have been strongly recognized for
20 years in computer and mobile phone users, and in
military and radar staff for 40. ES people should be
a primary, if not the primary, source of EMR
research, which in the past they have not been. The
present Word Health Organization conference in Prague
is a welcome counterexample.

RR Baker's studies of human navigation could
easily be repeated on ES people before and after
exposure to computers and mobile phones. It needs to
be remembered that once their exposure has hit
saturation level symptoms become much more prominent
and can fire off unpredictably, according to some
opinion. Stick them in a room and ask them to find
north. Then change the lighting and turn on a mobile
phone jammer, and see what happens. Do brain scans to
measure their magnetite levels etc etc. The magnetite
bacterial research has already started successfully,
and magnetoreception in ES is a simple approach.
Looking back through the literature, we find multiple
references to magnetoreception as suspect. This
condition must be tackled from a scientific footing
to deal with many of the challenges that ES people
face in daily lives. If magnetoreception is defective
in some, there could be obvious widespread community
concerns in this digital day and age.

Rowan Campbell
Melbourne, Australia
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