Body Electricity as Medicine

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In a 2013 article in the New Yorker, Kim Tinley, says ” A living body is inherently electrical: once every second or so, a dime-size bundle of cells in the upper chamber of the human heart produces an electrical pulse that keeps the organ beating, until the pulse ceases and we die. Cells shuttle ions in and out, communicating in a language tantalizingly similar to the positive and negative charges of electrical circuits. Eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin—these are merely interfaces, ways for a body to chemically convert the uncharged outside world into current that, as it leaps through the brain, creates our thoughts and feelings.”

When we talk about the nervous system sending “signals” to the brain, or synapses “firing,” or the brain telling our hands to contract around a door handle, what we’re talking about is electricity carrying messages between point A and point B.

– Julia Layton & Mark Mancini (source: How Stuff Works)

In a 2023 Fresh Air interview, host Terry Gross talked with Sally Adee, an award-winning science writer and author of her new book, “We are Electric: Inside the 200-Year Hunt for Our Body’s Bioelectric Code, and What the Future Holds.”

Every cell in our bodies—bones, skin, nerves, muscle—has a voltage, like a tiny battery. It is the reason our brain can send signals to the rest of our body, how we develop in the womb, and why our body knows to heal itself from injury. When bioelectricity goes awry, illness, deformity, and cancer can result. But if we can control or correct this bioelectricity, the implications for our health are remarkable: an undo switch for cancer that could flip malignant cells back into healthy ones; the ability to regenerate cells, organs, even limbs; to slow aging and so much more. The next scientific frontier might be decrypting the bioelectric code, much the way we did the genetic code.

– A description of the book (Source: Amazon)

During the interview with Terry, Sally informs the audience that every single cell within our bodies functions like a tiny battery, with its own electrical charge. This electricity helps our brain send messages to the rest of our body, helps us grow before we’re born, and helps us heal when we get hurt. But if this “bioelectricity” goes wrong, it can make us sick or even cause cancer.

If we figure out how to control or fix this bioelectricity, it could have huge benefits for our health. For example, let’s imagine turning cancer cells back into healthy ones, or growing new organs or even limbs! It can also help us slow down the aging process and solve other health problems. Scientists believe that the next big challenge is understanding this bioelectric code, a kin to the decodeding our genetic information in the past.

Additional information on body electricity can be found in the following resource links.

Related Resource Links