Reviews of topical problems

Effects of weak magnetic fields on biological systems: physical aspects

 a,  b
a Prokhorov General Physics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Vavilova 38, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation
b Semenov Federal Research Center for Chemical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Kosygina, 4, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation

The effect of weak magnetic fields on biosystems is the subject matter of the science of magnetobiology. There are objective factors, due to theory lagging far behind experiment, that are hindering the development of this science. Academic interest in the subject is restrained by the fact that experimental data lack a clear physical explanation. Besides, there is a strong imbalance in how physics and biology are involved in magnetobiology, the former being still in infancy in this respect. It is this imbalance which is currently the driving force for the development of the theory of magnetobiology. This brief analytical review focuses on the physical aspects of magnetobiological research. The task of magnetobiology is to explore the biological effects of weak magnetic fields and to understand mechanisms behind these effects. Magnetobiology is part of a more general issue of the biological impact of weak and hyperweak physico-chemical factors. It is believed that such factors operate even below the trigger threshold for protective biological mechanisms and are therefore capable of accumulating at the subcellular level. The so-called ’kT-problem’ is discussed in detail, and the interference mechanisms of the molecular gyroscope and of molecular states in an idealized protein cavity are suggested as candidate solutions.

PACS: 82.39.−k, 87.10.+e, 87.50.Mn (all)
DOI: 10.1070/PU2003v046n03ABEH001283
Citation: Binhi V N, Savin A V "Effects of weak magnetic fields on biological systems: physical aspects" Phys. Usp. 46 259–291 (2003)
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Оригинал: Бинги В Н, Савин А В «Физические проблемы действия слабых магнитных полей на биологические системы» УФН 173 265–300 (2003); DOI: 10.3367/UFNr.0173.200303b.0265

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