photo, kid with glasses with static hair sticking out

Electromagnetic fields (EMF) are controversial. Some believe that EMFs can cause health problems, even serious ones. Others don’t think so. We can’t see them and most of us don’t believe we can sense them. So, could this be an example of “what you can’t see can’t hurt you” wishful thinking?

The glioblastoma form of brain cancer is one of the most rapidly fatal cancers around. It does not respond well to treatment. A study recently appeared showing a dramatic improvement in survival when patients were treated with alternating electric fields in addition to conventional chemotherapy.

This latest study of electromagnetic fields(EMF) and brain cancer is both heartening and worrisome. Improving glioblastoma survival from 4 months to 7 is statistically meaningful and important for those patients, but still disappointing. Three more months is positive, but far less than anyone would hope for.

More concerning to me is the inevitable conclusion that if EMFs influence cell growth, doesn’t that mean that EMFs can cause cancers? Anything that can help can also harm just by changing the timing, intensity or other circumstances of the exposure.

“Within the infant rind of this small flower, poison hath residence and medicine, power”

Shakespeare from Romeo and Juliette

With so many electric and electronic devices, we live out our lives in an EMF soup. This study adds to concerns that EMF exposure is not benign. I love my electrical and electronic devices, but I love my health as well.


(Image Andrew Rich E+ Getty Images)

Written by 

Michael Carlston, MD is an internationally recognized authority in the integration of conventional and complementary medicine in clinical practice, as well as medical education, research and organizational consulting. Practicing in Santa Rosa, California, Dr. Carlston was voted “Best General Physician In Sonoma County, California” by readers of the Sonoma County Independent newspaper and also named one of the outstanding physicians in the Bay Area by San Francisco Focus Magazine. With 30+ years in private practice, his expertise is in nutrition, homeopathy and sports medicine.

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