Question: Have any God Helmet effects been replicated? Have other results from your lab have seen replication?
Answer. Yes. Every major discovery we have published that was considered “novel” has been replicated when the researcher followed the correct procedure.
A replication of God Helmet effects we have also reported in the literature was published in 2014 by a pair of Brazilian researchers (Tinoco, et al. 2014). Their report very closely replicates one of our early studies (Richards & Persinger, 1993), using the same analytical method that distinguished subjects from controls. That study concluded that it supports the contention that its results and those reported in our research publications are “attributable to the fields and their configurations, not to suggestibility”. This refutes the claims that our results come from subject suggestibility. These mistaken claims come from a researcher (Granqvist et al.) who did not set up his equipment properly. To explain his lack of results, he claimed that none were possible, and to explain our results, he claimed that we used improper methods with suggestible subjects. Actually, we do use double-blind and placebo controlled methods, as discussed on another page. I and my colleagues have answered these claims formally in the literature   ) (St-Pierre, 2006; Persinger 2005) and reviewed the methodological issues informally in web postings.
The Granqvist et al study was not designed to be a replication. They did not use the well-known helmet but instead employed a device we made for them as a prototype so they could study PET (Positron Emission Tomography) effects. This is what they claimed they were going to do when they visited the laboratory, and that was what we had in mind when we gave them their instructions for its use. They did not follow our precise timing procedures, needed to generate the fields. The effects do not occur without this precision timing. Granqvist et al presented the fields in a non-optimal manner, and their scores for their sham and treatment groups were the same as the scores for our sham groups. Effective magnetic fields are sensitive to the complexity of the timing of their components, just as chemical actions depend on the exact shape of the chemicals being employed. It is like changing a component of a drug and wondering why it does not work.
Granqvist wrote: “Such weak fields are considered unable to induce currents strong enough to depolarize neurons. Thus, the mechanism through which weak complex field(s) … may work remains obscure, but the waveform of the field has been suggested to be crucial” (Granqvist, 2004). In fact, there is nothing obscure about how the fields work in the brain.
One of the pioneers in biological aspects of magnetic fields, Joseph Kirshvink (1992 A) wrote: “A simple calculation shows that magnetosomes [chains of magnetic particles] moving in response to earth-strength ELF fields are capable of opening trans-membrane ion channels, in a fashion similar to those predicted by ionic resonance models. Hence, the presence of trace levels of biogenic [produced or brought about by living organisms] magnetite in virtually all human tissues examined suggests that similar biophysical processes may explain a variety of weak field ELF bioeffects”.
Our brains are richly populated with crystalline magnetite, containing 5 million such crystals per gram (Kirschvink, 1992 B). In the vernacular, our fields work because these crystals move in response and because the information encoded in their movement (coming from our signals); their “patterns”, interacts with the magnetic fields that appear as a consequence of the brain’s electrical activity, a “field to field” effect. Imagine the sun has a storm, making it’s magnetic field pulse slowly. Here, on the earth, we would have geomagnetic storms, as pulses from the sun’s stormy field is added to that of our planet. We have found this same field that produced the sensed presence works by very specific channels within membranes that allow calcium to enter the cell (Buckner et al, 2015). The timing of the point durations that compose the specific field pattern must be precise or there is no effect.
Notwithstanding the explanation for the effects of the fields, we also know of at least a dozen researchers who have observed measurable effects from magnetic fields that are significantly weaker than TMS. These corroborate our reports of measurable bioeffects from weak magnetic fields and demonstrate that depolarizing neurons is not the only way magnetic fields can influence the brain. We also did a study to demonstrate the permeability of the skull and cerebral space to magnetic fields (Persinger & Saroka, 2013).
The recent replication of our work (Tinoco, 2014) appears to resolve these issues. We look forward to further studies in the field.
Our analgesic effects from weak applied magnetic fields, beginning in 1994 (Fleming, et al., 1994, Martin, 2004, Gallic, 2007) were replicated by Thomas, Prato & Kavaliers in invertebrates (Thomas, 1997), rats (Shupak, 2004), and humans (Robertson, et al., 2010). A major review by an Italian research group (Seppia, et al., 2007) has demonstrated not only the effectiveness of these fields but their biochemical pathways. Similar research has been done by many others (Bao, 2006, Kortekaas, 2014,). Our work on these effects continues up to the present (Murugan, 2014).
Our work on geophysics the geophysics of luminous displays (earth lights, ball lightning, etc) has been corroborated by several researchers. The same is true for our work in paranormal experiences and correlative geomagnetic field levels.
My original work (Persinger, 1969) concerning the effects of rotating magnetic fields upon fetal development in rats was replicated by Ossenkopp (1972).
My quantitative demonstration that a significant proportion of global warming is more related to solar corona expansion and trends in geomagnetic activity rather than all CO2 (Persinger, 2010) has been replicated by several researchers, including Sudhir (2012) and Wilson, (2014).
Our histopathological analysis of calcium aggregates in brain from excessive seizure damage (Lafreniere et al, 1992) was replicated by Japanese researchers (Mori, 2000).
Our LORETA measures concerning mental time travel, that is measuring memories of experiences from the past and present and pre-experiences of the imagined future (Lavallee, et al., 2010) are consistent with what many others have measured, including Irish (2013).
It seems that one researcher did not replicate one of our results, and online commentators have taken this to mean that none of them have been replicated. This, in turn was distorted to imply that none of them could be. I have little doubt that this chain of rumors and distortions has its basis in the way some have been offended by my work on religion. Religious believers don’t want to accept that the brain could be instrumental in religious belief, and “new atheists” are offended by the idea that religion and religious experiences reflect processes intrinsic to the human brain, and can thus be considered as intrinsic to our species.
Anyone who has taken the time to precisely recreate the experimental or analytical conditions have replicated and extended our results.
I hope this blog will clarify that much of our work has been replicated and that we look forward to persevering in our efforts.
Dr. Michael A. Persinger
Behavioural Neuroscience, Biomolecular Sciences and Human Studies
Departments of Psychology and Biology
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada P3E 2C6
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
NOTE: This blog is hosted by a colleague.
St-Pierre, L.S., and M. A. Persinger. “Experimental facilitation of the sensed presence is predicted by the specific patterns of the applied magnetic fields, not by suggestibility: re-analyses of 19 experiments.” International Journal of Neuroscience 116.19 (2006): 1079-1096.
Persinger, Michael A., and S. A. Koren. “A response to Granqvist et al.“Sensed presence and mystical experiences are predicted by suggestibility, not by the application of transcranial weak magnetic fields”.” Neuroscience Letters 380.3 (2005): 346-347.
Tinoca, Carlos A., and João PL Ortiz. “Magnetic Stimulation of the Temporal Cortex: A Partial “God Helmet” Replication Study.” Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research 5.3 (2014).
Richards, Pauline M., Michael A. Persinger, and Stan A. Koren. “Modification of activation and evaluation properties of narratives by weak complex magnetic field patterns that simulate limbic burst firing.” International journal of Neuroscience 71.1-4 (1993): 71-85.
Granqvist, Pehr, et al. “Sensed presence and mystical experiences are predicted by suggestibility, not by the application of transcranial weak complex magnetic fields.” Neuroscience Letters 379.1 (2005): 1-6.
Kirschvink, Joseph L., et al. “Magnetite in human tissues: a mechanism for the biological effects of weak ELF magnetic fields.” Bioelectromagnetics 13.S1 (1992 A): 101-113.
Kirschivink, Joseph L., Kobayashi-Kisshvink, Atsuko & Woodford, Barbera J. “Magnetite biomineralization in the Human Brain”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 1992 (B), 89 7683-7687
Buckner CA, Buckner AL, Koren SA, Persinger MA, Lafrenie RM (2015) Inhibition of Cancer Cell Growth by Exposure to a Specific Time-Varying Electromagnetic Field Involves T-Type Calcium Channels. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0124136. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0124136
M. Persinger and K. Saroka, “Minimum Attenuation of Physiologically-Patterned, 1µ Tesla Magnetic Fields through Simulated Skull and Cerebral Space,” Journal of Electromagnetic Analysis and Applications, Vol. 5 No. 4, 2013, pp. 151-156.
Fleming, Jennifer L., M. A. Persinger, and Stanley A. Koren. “Magnetic pulses elevate nociceptive thresholds: Comparisons with opiate receptor compounds in normal and seizure-induced brain-damaged rats.” Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine 13.1 (1994): 67-75.
Martin, L.J. , S.A. Koren, M.A. Persinger “Thermal analgesic effects from weak, complex magnetic fields and pharmacological interactions” Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 78 (2004) 217–227
Galic M.A. and Persinger M.A. “Lagged Association Between Geomagnetic Activity and Diminished Nocturnal Pain Thresholds in Mice” Bioelectromagnetics 28:577, 579 (2007)
Thomas, Alex W., et al. “Antinociceptive effects of a pulsed magnetic field in the land snail, Cepaea nemoralis.” Neuroscience letters 222.2 (1997): 107-110.
Robertson, John A., et al. “Evidence for a dose-dependent effect of pulsed magnetic fields on pain processing.” Neuroscience letters 482.2 (2010): 160-162.
Del Seppia, Cristina, et al. “Pain perception and electromagnetic fields.”Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 31.4 (2007): 619-642.
Bao, Xiuqi, et al. “A possible involvement of β‐endorphin, substance P, and serotonin in rat analgesia induced by extremely low frequency magnetic field.” Bioelectromagnetics 27.6 (2006): 467-472.
Kortekaas, R., et al. “Weak field transcerebral pulsed electromagnetic fields in health care.” Antennas and Propagation (EuCAP), 2014 8th European Conference on IEEE, 2014.
Murugan, Nirosha J. , Lukasz M. Karbowski and Michael A. Persinger “Weak burst-firing magnetic fields that produce analgesia equivalent to morphine do not initiate activation of proliferation pathways in human breast cells in culture” Integrative Cancer Science and Therapeutics, 2014 Volume 1(3): 47-50
Persinger, Michael A. “Open‐field behavior in rats exposed prenatally to a low intensity‐low frequency, rotating magnetic field.” Developmental psychobiology 2.3 (1969): 168-171.
Ossenkopp, Klaus P. “Maturation and open-field behavior in rats exposed prenatally to an ELF low-intensity rotating magnetic field.” Psychological Reports, Vol 30(2), Apr 1972, 371-374.
Persinger, Michael A. “The cosmology of climate change: Intercorrelations between increased global temperature, carbon dioxide and geomagnetic activity.” Journal of Cosmology 8 (2010): 1957-1969.
Sudhir, Joshi Indira , Christiana, Tadiparti Mary “Linkage between Cyclonic storms, Geomagnetic storms, Sunspot numbers and Climate Change” Research Journal of Recent Sciences Vol. 1(2), 100-103, Feb. (2012)
Wilson, Robert M. “On the Relationship Between Global Land-Ocean Temperature and Various Descriptors of Solar-Geomagnetic Activity and Climate.” NASA/TP—2014–218193, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL 62 pp, 2014.
Lafreniere, Ghislaine F., Oksana Peredery, and Michael A. Persinger. “Progressive accumulation of large aggregates of calcium-containing polysaccharides and basophilic debris within specific thalamic nuclei after lithium/pilocarpine-induced seizures.” Brain research bulletin 28.5 (1992): 825-830.
Mori, Fumiaki, Kunikazu Tanji, and Koichi Wakabayashi. “Widespread calcium deposits, as detected using the alizarin red S technique, in the nervous system of rats treated with dimethyl mercury.” Neuropathology 20.3 (2000): 210-215.
Irish, Muireann, and Olivier Piguet. “The pivotal role of semantic memory in remembering the past and imagining the future.” Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience 7 (2013).