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Elite Engineer

Need help understanding this study that shows magnet therapy reduce swelling

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Granted this study is from 2008, and there were no further investigations, I've received some flak from my pseudoscience friends for not giving credit to the findings. 
The story explains how bioengineer, Tom Skalak at University of VA may have discovered how magnets may reduce swelling. At first I immediately assumed quackery,
but through reading the study I can't explain any mechanisms against the findings or find anything inherently wrong with the study. 

I can't see magnet therapy being a serious medical treatment. It's concerning, especially for pro-magnet therapy quacks using this to solidify their position. 

Study: https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.01133.2006

Study summary: https://news.virginia.edu/content/biomedical-engineering-study-demonstrates-healing-value-magnets

~ee

Edited by Elite Engineer

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9 hours ago, Elite Engineer said:

Granted this study is from 2008, and there were no further investigations, I've received some flak from my pseudoscience friends for not giving credit to the findings. 
The story explains how bioengineer, Tom Skalak at University of VA may have discovered how magnets may reduce swelling. At first I immediately assumed quackery,
but through reading the study I can't explain any mechanisms against the findings or find anything inherently wrong with the study. 

I can't see magnet therapy being a serious medical treatment. It's concerning, especially for pro-magnet therapy quacks using this to solidify their position. 

Study: https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.01133.2006

Study summary: https://news.virginia.edu/content/biomedical-engineering-study-demonstrates-healing-value-magnets

~ee

From https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.01133.2006

Quote

The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. The article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

That's the only occurrence I could find of “advertisement” in the reference.

 

From https://news.virginia.edu/content/biomedical-engineering-study-demonstrates-healing-value-magnets

Quote

“We now hope to implement a series of steps, including private investment partners and eventually a major corporate partner, to realize these very widespread applications that will make a positive difference for human health,” says Skalak.

If that doesn't convince your pseudoscience friends I doubt any actual science will either.

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"With a five-year, $875,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine." 

Does that mean he may have done this study just to appease his funders? Is this a common occurence in academic research?

Edited by Elite Engineer

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1 hour ago, Elite Engineer said:

"With a five-year, $875,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine." 

Does that mean he may have done this study just to appease his funders? Is this a common occurence in academic research?

That is not how it works. It looks like it was funded by a NIH grant, i.e. they have submitted a proposal to the NIH, from where it was sent off to reviewers and apparently they found it convincing enough to finance it. 

A quick search indicates that there has been some work on the effects of strong magnetic fields on mammalian health. The effects range from beneficial effects in certain instances to potential harm. What is lacking is a cohesive theoretical framework to explain the observed outcomes (though there is some evidence that very strong fields could effect circulation to some degree). It is a pretty large jump from these observations to potential medical utility, though it is not pseudoscience in the common sense.

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2 hours ago, Elite Engineer said:

"With a five-year, $875,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine." 

Does that mean he may have done this study just to appease his funders? Is this a common occurence in academic research?

Your unattributed quote is from a blog written by a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and posted by Janet. Not necessarily a reliable source.

X-posted : Charony may have found a different reference.

Edit: many different possible sources, but not, it seems, your original references.

Edited by Carrock

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4 hours ago, CharonY said:

That is not how it works. It looks like it was funded by a NIH grant, i.e. they have submitted a proposal to the NIH, from where it was sent off to reviewers and apparently they found it convincing enough to finance it. 

A quick search indicates that there has been some work on the effects of strong magnetic fields on mammalian health. The effects range from beneficial effects in certain instances to potential harm. What is lacking is a cohesive theoretical framework to explain the observed outcomes (though there is some evidence that very strong fields could effect circulation to some degree). It is a pretty large jump from these observations to potential medical utility, though it is not pseudoscience in the common sense.

Thank you, that's much more clearer! I figured it wasn't pseudoscience, but also wasn't wholly grounded. I didn't want to take that stance until I ran it by a few people.

4 hours ago, Carrock said:

Your unattributed quote is from a blog written by a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and posted by Janet. Not necessarily a reliable source.

X-posted : Charony may have found a different reference.

Edit: many different possible sources, but not, it seems, your original references.

I believe the quote is originally from a UVA newspaper, and was then used in that blog.

https://news.virginia.edu/content/biomedical-engineering-study-demonstrates-healing-value-magnets

Edited by Elite Engineer

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4 hours ago, Carrock said:

Your unattributed quote is from a blog written by a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and posted by Janet. Not necessarily a reliable source.

I have not checked whether the study was actually paid the indicated amount, though the paper indicates that it was NIH funded. I was mostly referring to Elite Engineer's speculation that it was somehow related to appease donors, since that is not how the system would work.

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On 11/6/2019 at 7:55 PM, Elite Engineer said:

Granted this study is from 2008, and there were no further investigations, I've received some flak from my pseudoscience friends for not giving credit to the findings. 
The story explains how bioengineer, Tom Skalak at University of VA may have discovered how magnets may reduce swelling. At first I immediately assumed quackery,
but through reading the study I can't explain any mechanisms against the findings or find anything inherently wrong with the study. 

I can't see magnet therapy being a serious medical treatment. It's concerning, especially for pro-magnet therapy quacks using this to solidify their position. 

Study: https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.01133.2006

Study summary: https://news.virginia.edu/content/biomedical-engineering-study-demonstrates-healing-value-magnets

~ee

If I'm not too late to this discussion, I'm familiar with studies involving the brain and magnetic fields and I've reviewed the study summary you've provided here in context with these other studies.  Like you, I could find nothing overtly disputable in the article"s referenced finding.  Notwithstanding, a credible theoretical foundation for this area of science might be found in how magnetic fields resonate or otherwise interact with the metals and minerals essential to our cellular function--IMO.     

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