Scientific Sense Podcast

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Light Medicine

Recent research from the University of Bonn (1) that demonstrates light pulses are effective in jump starting a dying heart, opens up a long neglected pathway of electromagnetic spectrum in the treatment of diseases. Medicine, dominated by chemistry for many centuries, has been languishing. The complexity in the biology of humans, a haphazard combination of mistakes and happenstances has given those with an engineering mindset, hope. But they have been slow to recognize that the beneficial effects they find by the introduction of finely tuned chemicals are often followed by unknown, unanticipated and uncertain toxicity. Such was the domination of chemistry in medicine that they delegated physics to mere diagnostics. However, ancient cultures have been more aware of the effect of magnetism and light on the human body, albeit by unsystematic and unproven guesswork.

A new dawn is close at hand in which physics and computing will propel human health to hitherto unknown levels. We may finally recognize that specificity of intervention that is often accompanied by toxicity in chemistry is not the case in physics. In fact, it is just the opposite. The particles that propagate light and magnetism could be finely tuned and directed to the compartment of the human body that is not performing as expected. Once humans master the quantum effects exhibited by these particles, they may be in a position to hold and impact microscopic parts of the human body without pain or loss of control. The light defibrillator is exactly in this vein that spares the patient from any level of discomfort as it restarts the organ attempting to take a break.

The convergence of medicine and physics is a welcome trend. As the theoretical physicists struggle with beautiful but unprovable fantasies such as string theory or spend most of their careers measuring things they have no clue about such as dark matter and dark energy, perhaps they can devote a few hours of their time to something more practical. If they do, it can change medicine and dethrone ideas we have been pursuing from the middle ages.


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