Magnets & Medicine

All animals, including humans, have small magnetite 1) ___ in their brains. Scientists believe that animals may navigate or migrate, by sensing the pull of the crystals towards the earth’s magnetic poles. Our earth is one big magnet, with liquid 2) ___ deep within the earth, creating convection currents, which in turn create the magnetic force. Without the magnetic force field, too much energy would reach us from the 3) ___ and would wipe out our atmosphere. All man-made 4) ___ is made from magnets. When a magnet is spun inside a coil of wire, 5) ___ start to flow from the wire. Medical applications for magnets either: simply employ the attractive/repulsive forces between magnets, utilize the forces between magnets/electromagnets in devices or utilize the effect of magnetic field on biological systems. As permanent magnet materials have developed, attempts have been made to take advantage of their improved properties in medical applications. Uses of magnets in medical applications range from simple use for retention, through orthopedics and fracture healing, to magnetomotive artificial hearts and pioneering brain surgery, to where magnets are used to guide catheters. Magnets also find use in applications such as 6) ___ ___ ___ scanners and drug delivery systems. Recent experiments with animals, show that soon humans may have less invasive 7) ___ surgery, utilizing magnets to build magnetic positioning systems capable of supporting surgical instruments, tissue retractors, and cameras. As we perfect the use of surgical magnets, and magnetism in medicine, we may find sophisticated magnetic methods to solve the challenge of 8 ) ___ in outer space, as well as general health in space.