Biological responses upon conditions of ion magnetic resonance and ion cyclotron resonance - The ion forced oscillation hypothesis



Biological responses upon ELF and ELF-modulated fields - Interpretation based on hypothesis of ion resonance frequencies


Biological responses upon modulation of carrier waves with certain extremely low frequencies (ELF)



Certain low frequencies induce strong biological responses either on their own or when used to modulate electromagnetic waves. This may be due to resonance.

In 1975, Bawin and Adey discovered the "calcium efflux effect" which consisted of the efflux of calcium ions from chick brains irradiated with 147 MHz modulated within a certain "window of frequencies" having a maximum at 16 Hz. Other biological responses were induced upon modulation of 450 MHz or 2.45 GHz carrier waves with 16 Hz.

An interpretation has been provided by the ion cyclotron hypothesis based on the fact that 16 Hz is the cyclotron resonance frequency of potassium. 

In general, biological responses upon ELF and ELF-modulated fields may be interpreted based on ion resonance frequencies.



Biological responses at conditions of Ion Cyclotron Resonance 



Significant calcium phenotype (efflux) upon amplitude modulation of carrier waves (e.g. 450 MHz, 2.45 GHz) with 16 Hz - Interpretation based on the potassium ion cyclotron resonance frequency

The UK’s Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (Stewart Report) concluded in 2000 that "as a precautionary measure, amplitude modulation around 16 Hz should be avoided, if possible, in future developments in signal coding" (IEGMP, 2000).
Calcium efflux (p.50)
5.53 "In view of the vital role of calcium in the function of neurons and other cells, considerable work has been done on the effects of RF fields on calcium movement in brain tissue (...)
5.55 "Several studies, starting with the work of Bawin et al (1975)" (pdf) (note: Adey's group) "have involved measurement of the efflux of calcium out of large explants of brain tissue, prelabelled by incubation in medium containing radioactive calcium. Bawin et al (1975) (pdf) reported that exposure to 147 MHz fields at intensities too low to cause heating increased the efflux of calcium from chick brain, but only if the field was amplitude modulated at 16 Hz. The RF carrier frequency alone had no obvious effect. 


Figure 1: Effects of amplitude-modulated 147 MHz VHF fields on the 45Ca2+ efflux from from chick brains (From Bawin et al (1975)" (pdf)).



This observation was confirmed by Blackman et al (1979, 1980a,b), who used a number of different frequencies of amplitude modulation (3–30 Hz) and found that the effect was maximal at 16 Hz. This led to the view that modulation at or near 16 Hz might be critically important and a number of other studies using this frequency of amplitude modulation have also reported increases in the diffusion of calcium out of isolated fragments of nerve cells and cultured human neuroblastoma cells (see Table 5.1)" (Figure 2).

"Such calcium efflux may partly reflect movement of calcium out of neurons. Indeed, Kittel et al (1996), using electron microscopy to identify labelled calcium in a particular part of the brain (the medial habenular nucleus), found that exposure of mice in vivo to 2.45 GHz RF fields, amplitude modulated at 16 Hz, caused a reduction in the number of calcium-containing vesicles inside nerve cells and an increase in the amount of calcium precipitated on the surface of the cells. However, calcium efflux from brain explants almost certainly involves a number of other factors, including the release of calcium bound or adherent to membranes and simply trapped in the interstices of the tissue. It is also likely to be influenced by temperature."
5.56 "Adey (1989, 1993) has suggested that changes in calcium efflux may be due to an amplification process in which weak electric fields might be set up in the tissue at the extremely low frequency of amplitude modulation, and that these might act as a “trigger” for the initiation of long-range co-operative events within the cell membrane. However, there is no obvious theoretical basis for such effects which would seem to require the presence of a non-linear mechanism operating on the timescale of the carrier frequency. This is not the case for ion-gating mechanisms."
5.57 "A number of subsequent studies in other laboratories have failed to detect an increase in calcium efflux from brain explants in vitro (see UNEP/WHO/IRPA, 1993), but they generally used different conditions of stimulation (see Table 5.1)."
5.58 "There have been only two attempts to determine if such efflux of calcium occurs in vivo. Adey et al (1982) exposed cats to 16 Hz amplitude-modulated 450 MHz fields (SAR of 0.29 W/kg) and reported changes in calcium ion-exchange in the cerebral cortex. However, Merritt et al (1982) did not find such an effect in the brain of anaesthetised rats."
"Although the weight of evidence suggests that RF exposure at average levels, too low to cause significant heating, does increase the release of calcium from brain tissue, there are contradictory results. The suggestion that these effects occur specifically with fields that are amplitude modulated at extremely low frequencies is intriguing but difficult to interpret. Further, this finding is of no obvious relevance to mobile phone technology, where the amplitude modulation within the critical frequency band is very small (see paragraph 4.13). If such effects occur as a result of exposure to mobile phones, their implications for cell function are unclear and no obvious health risk has been suggested."
"Nevertheless, as a precautionary measure, amplitude modulation around 16 Hz should be avoided, if possible, in future developments in signal coding."


Figure 2: Table presenting studies related to calcium efflux and electromagnetic fields (Table 5.1 from



Certain low frequencies induce strong biological responses either on their own or when used to modulate electromagnetic waves. This may be due to resonance. An example is 16Hz, the ion cyclotron resonance frequency of potassium ions in the Earth's magnetic field, which is associated with calcium efflux and increased membrane permeability.



"The Cell Phone and the Cell"


Electromagnetic radiation increases membrane permeability - "How weak fields remove calcium ions from membranes" -  Ion cyclotron resonance


It is noted that "more detailed testing of ELF frequencies between 1 and 510 Hz have shown a series of frequency windows of effects, separated by no-effect frequencies (Figure 3) (Blackman CF).





The Ion Cyclotron Resonance Hypothesis


Reference: “Bioengineering and Biophysical Aspects of Electromagnetic Fields” edited by Greenebaum B, Barnes F.S. 

Chapter 9, “The Ion Cyclotron Resonance Hypothesis” authored by A.R. Liboff


The Ion Cyclotron Resonance (ICR) Hypothesis was originally invoked (Liboff A.R 1985) to interpret a set of extraordinary results from the study of the calcium efflux system model system demonstrating a strong dependance on the orientation of the magnetic field (Blackman C.F. et al 1985). The original discovery of the calcium efflux effect (Bawin et al (1975) (pdf)) and following studies showed that high frequency electromagnetic fields which were amplitude modulated at a range of low frequencies of approximately 15 Hz, induced calcium efflux from chick brains. This frequency range termed a frequency "window" - cited frequently in literature - resembles a resonance curve (Fig. 9.2 Blackman's results indicated that certain combinations of frequency and magnetic field strength had positive results such as 15 Hz and 38 mT or 30 Hz and 76 mT. This implied that the ratio of frequency to magnetic field strength is biologically important.


How could the ICR hypothesis explain these results? According to the ICR hypothesis, the physiological activity of cell signalling ions including, Ca2+, Mg2+, and K+, could be influenced when the ratio of applied frequency to the static magnetic field is equal to the ionic charge-to-mass ratio. This is expressed as:


ω / B = q / m  (Equation 1)


where the radial frequency ω = 2πf, measured in radians per second, is used instead of the frequency f measured in hertz. In the above equation, B is the magnetic field strength measured in tesla, and q/m is the ratio of the ionic charge to mass, measured in coulombs per kilogram. For any given ionic species, the specific frequency that equals the product of B and q/m is called the cyclotronic frequency, ω(c).


The calculated charge to mass ratio (q/m) for certain ions involved in cell signaling are presented in the following table (Table 1).



Ion        q/m(C/kg)10^-6    f/B (Hz/mT)   f(Hz)[50μΤ]


H+          95.76                 15.241          762,1

Mg2+      7.937                 1.263            63,2

Ca2+       4.814                0.766            38,3

Zn2+        2.951               0.470            23,5

K+            2.467               0.393            19,7 


If we consider the Earth’s magnetic field strength which is approximately 50μT, we can appreciate that the cyclotronic frequencies, ω(c) for ions involved in cell signaling are in the ELF range. Specifically: Mg2+ (63,2 Hz), Ca2+ (38,3 Hz), Zn2+ (23,5 Hz), K+(19,7 Hz) (Figure 1 - 9.1




Figure 3: Ion cyclotronic frequencies for ions involved in cell signaling are in the ELF range (Figure 9.1 from



In order to interpret Blackman’s results the following table is prepared (Table 2) with the combinations of frequency and magnetic field that gave a positive outcome, as well as the inclusion of an additional column corresponding to the theoretical charge to mass ratio (q/m) calculated from Equation 1.



f(Hz)   B(μT)    Outcome    q/m(C/kg)


15      38           Yes            2.48 * 10^6

30      76           Yes            2.48 * 10^6

30     -76           Yes            2.48 * 10^6

30      25           Yes            7.54 * 10^6

30     -25           Yes            7.54 * 10^6


We can observe that the calculated charge to mass ratio for the first three cases is very close to the K+ ratio mentioned in Table 1 (2.467). This infers that it is the K+ ion that may be implicated in the biological outcome, despite the fact that the Ca2+ ion was measured in these experiments. Additional proof in favor of this observation is provided by the remaining positive outcomes, where the calculated charge to mass ratio is three times greater than that of the K+ ion. In cyclotron resonance, we observe a set of resonance frequencies, where the fundamental frequency or first harmonic at n=1 is given by equation 1 and the higher harmonic frequencies are restricted to the odd harmonics n=3,5,7(...). The ratios associated with positive outcomes of 30 Hz and +/-25 μΤ are three times larger than the others, suggesting that the K+ ion is interacting with the magnetic field as a result of the excitation of the third harmonic.


Further evidence of the role of the K+ ion is provided by the studies of (Blackman et al 1979) and the interpretation provided by McLeod and Liboff who derived the resonance signature for a charged particle as a function of frequency and obtained a very good fit of the data (Fig. 9.2 This indicates involvement of ions in cyclotron resonance with a q/m ratio equal to that of the potassium ion.

An extensive list of studies which support the ICR hypothesis is cited in the book “Bioengineering and Biophysical Aspects of Electromagnetic Fields” edited by Greenebaum B, Barnes F.S., Chapter 9, “The Ion Cyclotron Resonance Hypothesis” written by A.R. Liboff.




a. Liboff, A.R., Geomagnetic cyclotron resonance in living cells, J. Biol. Phys., 13, 99–102, 1985.


b. Blackman, C.F., Benane, S.G., Rabinowitz, J.R., House, D.E., and Joines, W.T., A role for the magnetic field in the radiation-induced efflux of calcium ions from brain tissue in vitro,

Bioelectromagnetics, 6, 327–337, 1985.


Corresponding abstract (1984) Blackman, C.F. ; Benane, S.G. ; House, D.E.; Rabinowitz, J.R. 1984. The Bioelectromagnetics Society, abstract SA-4, 6th Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA.


c. Bawin, S.M., Kazmarek, K.L., and Adey, W.R., Effects of modulated VHF fields on the central nervous system, Ann. NY Acad. Sci., 247, 74–81, 1975.




d. Blackman, C.F., Elder, J.A., Weil, C.M., Benane, S.G., Eichinger, D.C., and House, D.E., Induction of calcium-ion efflux from brain tissue by radiofrequency radiation and field strength,

Radio Sci., 14, 93–98, 1979.


(The above references a, b, c, d correspond to 4, 12, 13, 14 respectively from the book).


Additional references

1. "Nuclear magnetic and cyclotronic resonances" at this link.

2. Blackman C.F., "Alterations in Calcium Ion Activity Caused by ELF and RF Electromagnetic Fields". Excerpt: 

"More detailed testing of ELF frequencies between 1 and 510 Hz have shown a series of frequency windows of effects, separated by no-effect frequencies (Figure 3). It was subsequently shown that both the intensity (Figure 4) and the orientation of the earth's magnetic field during exposure can alter effects at specific frequencies. These results led to the development of ion resonance models and tests of their predictions (Blackman, 1985; Liboff, 1985)."





"Science: How magnetic fields could upset your ions"





"Ion Forced-Oscillation Mechanism": EMF-induced forced-oscillation of ions can influence channel gating


Reference: "Microwave Effects on DNA and Proteins" edited by C.D. Geddes
Chapter 1, authored by D.J. Panagopoulos
"A review of the whole EMF-bioeffects literature reveals that the most bioactive EMFs are the lower frequency ones, especially the ELF fields (Goodman et al. 1995). Moreover its is shown that pulsed EMFs are more bioactive than continuous fields of the same rest characteristics (...). The pulse repetition frequency is always a low frequency, most usually ELF. We argue that the reason for the intense bioactivity of modern low-intensity microwave fields is most likely the ELF pulsing and modulation frequencies they include and not the RF carrier wave itself."
"Polarized man-made EMFs/EMR will induce a coherent and parallel forced-oscillation on every charged/polar molecule withing biological tissue."
"A forced-oscillation of mobile ions, induced by an external polarized EMF can result in irregular gating of electrosensitive ion channels on the cell membranes. That was described in detail in Panagopoulos et al (2000a, 2002). According to this theory - the plausibility of which in actual biological conditions was verified by numerical test (Halgamuge and Abeyrathne 2011) - the forced-oscillation of ions in the vicinity of the voltage-sensors of voltage-gated ion channels can exert forces on these sensors equal to or greater than the forces known to physiologically gate these channels."
"Irregular gating of these channels can potentially disrupt any cell's electrochemical balance and function (Alberts et al. 1994), leading to a variety of biological/health effects including the most detrimental ones, such as DNA damage, cell death or cancer (Pall 2013, 2015).
"Most cation channels (Ca+2, K+, Na+, etc) on the membranes of all animal cells, are voltage-gated, or as they are usually called, "electrosensitive" (Alberts et al. 1994)".

Prof. Dr. Dimitris Panagopoulos (University of Athens)
In recent years, he has been researching exclusively and intensively mobile phone radiation. He was summoned as an expert witness on the class action lawsuit in Washington DC. In September 2017, the Court of Appeals in Washington DC issued a favorable decision on the subject. The Professor was elected among the top 100 scientists for the year 2011 by the Cambridge University.




Effects of electromagnetic radiation - Effects of cell phones at this link.





Biological responses at conditions of ion magnetic resonance in the ambient magnetic field


Most important ions for neural signaling are Na, K, Cl, Ca2+


Among the first experiments which demonstrated biological responses at frequencies which satisfied magnetic resonance conditions (NMR conditions) for the ambient magnetic field were dielectrophoresis experiments with yeast cells which showed certain anomalies at the frequency of 2 KHz which corresponds to the proton (H+) magnetic resonance in the Earth's magnetic field (Pohl 1980).


Measurement of permittivity and dielectric loss of yeast cell suspensions showed sharp peaks upon NMR conditions for ions H, P, Na, Cl, and K and also upon ESR (Electron Spin Resonance) conditions (Jafary-Asl A.H. et al 1983Aarholt E. et al). In other words, by using frequencies which satisfied conditions of magnetic resonance in the Earth's magnetic field, there were significant biological outcomes. 


This is shown in the following composite figure from Aarholt E. et al data (related to Jafary-Asl A.H. et al 1983) which demonstrates dielectric constant and dielectric loss of yeast cell suspensions at the previously mentioned ion magnetic resonance frequencies for a magnetic field of 50μΤ. It is possible to calculate these frequencies by multiplying the gyromagnetic ratio of each ion with the magnetic field strength of 50μΤ. Please refer to the table of the figure below which indicates the following magnetic resonance frequencies at 50μΤ:

H (2129 Hz or 2.1 KHz), P (863 Hz), Na (563 Hz), Cl (209 Hz), K (99 Hz).


We can appreciate the peaks on conditions of magnetic resonance for these ions.




Figure 4: Composite figure from Aarholt E. et al (related to Jafary-Asl A.H. et al 1983) demonstrating dielectric constant and dielectric loss of live yeast cell suspensions (1.9 x 106 cells/ml) in a laboratory ambient field of 0.5 G (electric field strength of the order of 20 kV/m). Proton (hydrogen), phosphorus, sodium, chlorine and potassium NMR conditions.



Except for effects on dielectric permittivity and loss, the study reports results on enzyme-substrate reactions as well as generation time for cell growth (cf. DNA synthesis), decrease in cell size and increase in cell number without change in total mass.



As mentioned in the book "The Body Electric" by Robert Becker (author), Gary Selden (contributor), in 1983, a research team under A. H. Jafary-Asl showed that in the Earth's magnetic field, "the harmonics of power line frequencies could produce a time-varying field that would induce nuclear magnetic resonance in at least two common atoms of living tissue—potassium and chlorine". 
The NMR frequencies calculated above are 99 Hz for K and 209 Hz for Cl. As pointed out by Jafary-Asl A.H. et al 1983in the Earth's magnetic field (typical value of 50μΤ) the potassium (39K) resonance is 1% away from the second harmonic of 50 Hz and the chlorine (35Cl) is near the third harmonic of 60 Hz, which may explain certain effects claimed to be associated with power supply lines.
It should be mentioned that according to this reference, the NMR (and similarly the ESR) condition "represents a very sharply defined resonance condition whereby energy can be inserted into a living system in a very specific manner".

Brain entrainement upon conditions of calcium efflux


The scientist who discovered the calcium efflux effect, Susanne Bawin from Adey's group, had previously shown  that extremely weak VHF fields (147 MHz, 1 mW/cm2) amplitude-modulated at low frequencies (cf. "brain wave frequencies") strongly influenced spontaneous and conditioned EEG patterns in the cat (Bawin S thesis, 1972, Bawin S et al 1973).



NMR/ESR magnetogyric ratios and calculation of NMR/ESR frequencies for magnetic field of central France (0.000047 Tesla)

Google spreasheet link: 


Combination of the following sources:

1. NMR Frequency Tables Bruker (page 8)
2. Wikipedia
3. Hyperphysics


It is suggested for convenience to hide the columns with the mention "Gyromagnetic ratio" referring to Wikipedia and Hyperphysics after having taken notice of them.


Note: The correct term according to IUPAC is "Magnetogyric ratio" as this refers to the ratio of the magnetic moment to the angular momentum




Figure 5: NMR/ESR Magnetogyric ratios and frequencies