Magnetic field affecting the body and mindhuman, reminiscent of the super power that the X-Men possess in science fiction films, but researchers believe that some people are actually able to feel the magnetic field of our planet. Many animals, from pigeons to turtles, use this perception for navigation, while cattle, according to previous studies, prefer to combine with the field while in it. For many years, there has been debate among the academic community as to whether people have such a flair. The results of the work published in eNeuro magazine say yes.
We are part of the Earth’s magnetic biosphere
According to The Guardian, we, as a species, did not losemagnetic sensory system that our ancestors had millions of years ago. According to Professor Joseph Kirschwink, director of research at the California Institute of Technology, people are part of the Earth’s magnetic biosphere. In their work, Kirschwink and his colleagues from the USA and Japan describe that the discovery was made after the construction of a hexagonal cage, the walls of which were made of aluminum, to protect the installation from electromagnetic interference. These walls also contained coils through which currents passed, creating magnetic fields of about the same strength as Earth.
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Each participant was asked to enter a dark cage.and sit on a wooden chair facing north. During the experiment, the team measured the brain waves of the subjects using an electroencephalogram (EEG). In some experiments, the created magnetic fields were fixed in one direction, while in others they rotated. In other cases, a magnetic field was not created - this meant that the participants were exposed only to the Earth's natural magnetic field. At the same time, the subjects did not know which experiment was conducted.
Results from 34 adult subjectsshowed that certain experimental scenarios caused a fall in alpha brain waves. Alpha waves occur when we close our eyes and begin to relax. With an increase in the functional activity of the brain, the amplitude of the alpha rhythm decreases until it disappears completely. Brain waves fell if the artificial magnetic field was directed north, and then turned up or down, or down when pointing north and turned counterclockwise. Like a person in the northern hemisphere, nodding his head or turning his head to the right.
This is interesting: What happens if the Earth’s magnetic field disappears?
According to researchers, the resultsakin to the fact that the brain "goes crazy" in response to an unexpected change in the environment. This means that a person is able to detect such changes - although the responses of the subjects varied greatly. According to the team, a new study suggests that the human magnetoreception system distinguishes north from south, supporting an alternative mechanism that includes special cells containing iron-based crystals. It is believed that these crystals rotate like a compass needle, opening or closing the pores in the cells, thereby affecting the signals sent to the brain.
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Since all subjects are from northernhemisphere, the idea of scientists was that the cells of the subjects could already be tuned to a magnetic field - hence the ability to distinguish between the poles. Nevertheless, it is too early to draw final conclusions. At a minimum, it is necessary to repeat the experiment with subjects from the southern hemisphere. Other researchers who did not participate in the experiment also called for caution, since it is necessary to distinguish between a subtle change in brain activity in response to a weak magnetic field, and another to show that people are really able to detect the magnetic field meaningfully.