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Thread: Can an EMP damage the human brain?

  1. #1 Can an EMP damage the human brain? 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    If an EMP can knock out electrical equipment why is the human brain not affected?

    The brain needs, is run on or is supported by electricity aswell right even though its biological? So why would an EMP effect mechanized machinery run on electricity and not biological organisms powered by it?


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  3. #2  
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    I also wondered about that. Propably it is due to the size and mass of the charge carrier. In the brain large Ions like natrium, kalium, chlorid cations are "floating". The have thousand times the mass of electrons. An EMP affects the electric flow of devices, that is based on electrons. Maybe, when the EMP's intensity is increased by a factor of 1000 it can also damage our brain. Assumed, that only the electric and magnatic field is stronger... propably the source of such an EMP would destroy the earth


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    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    The brain is not purely electrical. The electricity in the action potentials are a result of chemical processes, so I'd say no. An EMP might lead to higher cancer incidence, but it won't do a whole lot to mess with your neural functioning. It's not a purely electronic system as your premise requires.
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    Isn't ECT basically EMP?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Junior DrmDoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    If an EMP can knock out electrical equipment why is the human brain not affected?
    Actually, there is some evidence suggesting that strong electromagnetic pulses may have a substantial affect on the cognitive processes of the left hemisphere. I recall a cognitive experiment measuring the accuracy of a subject's verbatim reading of well known quotes with just a few words transposed. Subjects were asked to read these quotes with misplaced words exactly as they appeared. Without the application of an EMP, the participants in this experiment were unconsciously able to recite the select quotes in their logical form without notice of transposed wording. With the application of EMP, recital of the quotes were verbatim with transpositions in place. For example, instead of "recital of the quotes", as stated herein, the phrase "recital the of quotes" would have been read with the transposition "the of" recited verbatim after EMP application. The researchers suggested that the EMP temporarily short-circuited the logical circuitry of the left hemisphere.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    It's a bit like claims that magnetism affect human health - hence those crappy devices like magnetic bracelets that are sold by charlatons with fraudulent claims that they improve health.

    In fact, magnetism can affect human metabolism, but only at extremely high levels. An MRI scanner uses magnetic fields thousands of times greater than a magnetic bracelet, and has no meaurable effect (positive or negative) on human health. But even higher field strength can cause measurable effects.

    It is the same with EMP pulses. It takes a massive dose to affect the human nervous system. A nuclear explosion 50 kms away would not be enough, but a pulse generated within centimetres of the brain may do so. (Obviously not by a nuclear explosion!)

    The nervous system is based on electrochemical action. Not electrical. While the brain is often compared to a computer, the actions are very different. Thus, an EMP pulse that will do great harm to a computer will not affect the human brain.
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