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Breakthrough: Exposure to Static Magnetic and Electric Fields Treats Type 2 Diabetes

The research conducted by the University of Iowa, led by Calvin Carter, PhD, and Sunny Huang, an MD/PhD student, represents a significant breakthrough in the management of type 2 diabetes. Their study, Exposure to Static Magnetic and Electric Fields Treats Type 2 Diabetes which was published in “Cell Metabolism” on October 6, 2020, discovered a non-invasive method to manage blood sugar levels using electromagnetic fields (EMFs). This innovative approach could transform diabetes care, especially for those who find current treatment regimens cumbersome.

Key Findings:

Non-Invasive Blood Sugar Management: The study found that exposing diabetic mice to a combination of static electric and magnetic fields for a few hours per day normalized two major hallmarks of type 2 diabetes. This method effectively reduces blood sugar levels and normalizes the body’s response to insulin.

Long-Lasting Effects: One of the most promising aspects of this discovery is the long-lasting effects of EMF exposure. The researchers suggest that this therapy could be applied during sleep to manage diabetes throughout the day.

Mechanism of Action – Oxidants and Antioxidants: The study indicates that EMFs alter the balance of oxidants and antioxidants in the liver, which improves the body’s response to insulin. This effect is mediated by small reactive molecules acting as “magnetic antennae.”

Serendipitous Discovery: The discovery was made when Sunny Huang needed to practice taking blood from mice and measuring blood sugar levels using mice from Calvin Carter’s study on the effect of EMFs on brain and behavior. Surprisingly, the mice showed normal blood sugar levels, sparking this groundbreaking research.

Potential for Human Application: The researchers also treated human liver cells with EMFs and observed a significant improvement in a surrogate marker for insulin sensitivity, suggesting that this approach might also benefit humans.

Safety and Side Effects: The World Health Organization considers low-energy EMFs safe for human health. The study found no evidence of adverse side effects in mice, suggesting that this therapy could be a safe option for diabetes management.

Future Directions: The team is working on larger animal models and plans to move into clinical trials with patients. They aim to develop this technology into a new class of non-invasive therapies for diabetes management.

Collaborative Effort: The research involved a multidisciplinary team from various departments at the University of Iowa, as well as colleagues from Vanderbilt University. It was funded by philanthropic gifts and several national health institutes and foundations.

Startup for Translation into Therapy: To translate these findings into a therapeutic option, Carter, Huang, and Carter’s twin brother, Walter, have created a startup company called Geminii Health.

Patents and Intellectual Property: Researchers involved in the study, including Carter, Huang, Sheffield, Charles Searby, and Michael Miller, have patents pending related to this work.


This discovery has the potential to revolutionize the way type 2 diabetes is managed. It opens the possibility of a non-invasive, safe, and effective way to control blood sugar levels, potentially benefiting millions of patients worldwide. The research underscores the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in medical science and the unforeseen benefits that can arise from serendipitous discoveries.

The study titled “Exposure to Static Magnetic and Electric Fields Treats Type 2 Diabetes” explores the effects of combined static magnetic and electric fields (sBE) on type 2 diabetes in animal models. Here are some key details from the study:

Necessity of Combined Fields: The study found that only the combined static magnetic and electric (sBE) fields significantly improved glucose tolerance. In contrast, magnetostatic fields alone worsened glycemia, and electrostatic fields had no significant effect​

Long-term Exposure Effects: Mice exposed to sBE for 22 weeks showed a 40% reduction in fasting blood glucose (FBG) compared to untreated mice, indicating the durability of sBE’s anti-hyperglycemic effects over five months. Upon ceasing sBE exposure, FBG levels rebounded within 7 days​

Effect on Insulin Sensitivity: The study also revealed that sBE exposure ameliorated insulin resistance in both high-fat diet (HFD) and db/db insulin-resistant mouse models. This suggests that the anti-hyperglycemic effects of sBE treatment are likely due to enhanced insulin action​

The study highlights the combined effect of static magnetic and electric fields in managing blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity in diabetic mouse models.

Creating an equipment setup to generate specific electromagnetic fields, such as a magnetic field (B field) of 3 milliteslas (mT) and a vertically oriented electric field (E field) of 7 kilovolts per meter (kV/m), requires careful planning and selection of appropriate components. Below is a list of equipment and tools that you might need to create such an environment:

  1. Magnet or Helmholtz Coils for Magnetic Field Generation: To produce a static magnetic field of 3 mT, you can use a strong permanent magnet or a pair of Helmholtz coils. Helmholtz coils are preferable for creating a uniform magnetic field over a larger volume.
  2. Power Supply for Helmholtz Coils: If using Helmholtz coils, a stable and adjustable DC power supply is needed. The power supply should be capable of delivering the current necessary to generate the required magnetic field strength.
  3. Tesla Meter or Gaussmeter: To measure the magnetic field strength and ensure it reaches the desired level of 3 mT. This instrument is essential for calibrating the setup.
  4. Van de Graaff Generator or High-Voltage Power Supply: For generating a high electric field of 7 kV/m, a Van de Graaff generator or a specialized high-voltage power supply can be used. The choice depends on the required stability and control over the field.
  5. Electrodes or Plates for Electric Field Generation: These will distribute the electric field. They should be arranged vertically and spaced appropriately to achieve the desired field strength.
  6. High-Voltage Probes and Multimeter: To measure and verify the electric field strength. High-voltage probes are designed to safely measure high voltage levels.
  7. Insulation Materials: To insulate the high-voltage components and prevent accidental electric discharge or arcing.
  8. Safety Equipment: Includes insulating gloves, safety goggles, and other protective gear to ensure safety while working with high voltages and strong magnetic fields.
  9. Control and Monitoring System: Depending on the complexity of your setup, you may need a control system to adjust the output of the power supplies and to monitor the field strengths continuously.
  10. Faraday Cage or Shielding: To isolate the experiment from external electromagnetic interference, especially important if precise control over the EMF is required.
  11. Calibration Equipment: To calibrate your setup accurately, especially if used for scientific experiments or medical applications.
  12. Structural Support and Mounting: To hold the coils, electrodes, and other components in place securely.

Additional Considerations:

  • Expert Consultation: Consultation with an electrical engineer or a physicist is highly recommended to design and set up the system safely and effectively.
  • Compliance with Safety Standards: Ensure that your setup complies with local safety regulations and standards, especially when dealing with high voltages and strong magnetic fields.
  • Environmental Controls: If the experiment is sensitive, control over environmental factors like temperature and humidity might be necessary.
  • Data Acquisition System: For research purposes, a system to record and analyze the effects of the EMF on the subject matter could be required.

This list provides a foundational starting point. The specific requirements may vary depending on the scale and purpose of your setup.

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