The Body Electric
Reviewed by Heidi Boudro
The Body Electric: Electromagnetism And The Foundation Of Life, by Dr. Robert O. Becker, MD (1923-2008) and Gary Selden, on the electrical properties of the human body, was published in 1985, nearly a quarter century ago, yet still surprises. Dr. Becker, a medical researcher and practicing orthopedic surgeon at the Veteran's Administration, includes autobiography; an account of rather startling experimental biology that demonstrates how to design and learn from experiments; personalized case histories of experimental treatment of infected, non-healing fractures; an overview on what is known about electricity and the body; disturbing implications for public health; and how defense and corporate interests suppress medical science.
Dr. Becker suspected that the healing of bone--which at times fails--was a vestige of regeneration; regeneration defined as "the regrowth of a complex body part." For example, the salamander, a lizard-like amphibian, can regenerate tails, limbs, jaws, eyes, and, as one of Dr. Becker's assistants discovered, the complex and vital organ of the heart. It is well documented that human children, under the age of 12, can regrow a finger tip, complete with fingernail, from the outer crease of the outer finger joint. Could humans one day regrow limbs, organs, or the spinal cord?
Meanwhile, Dr. Becker studied the theories and the accumulating evidence of the electric currents within living beings. He developed a hypothesis that growth and healing are controlled by "semiconducting direct currents" in a "primitive, analog-coded information system that was closely related to the nerves but not necessarily located in the nerve fibers themselves."
The major portion of the book covers his careful experiments (many involving surgery on anesthetized salamanders) that led to a series of groundbreaking articles in prestigious scientific journals, to electrical stimulation methods of healing non-union bone fractures, and to significant evidence toward the New Biology conception of the human body as a liquid crystal semiconductor.
By the time Dr. Becker discusses the effects of electromagnetic radiation on the human body, and the likely devastating effects of the current level of electrical pollution, his expertise is well established. After he testified to the New York State Public Service Commission about the effects of power lines, he became a target of defense and corporate interests. He describes the torturous process through which his government-funded lab was shut down despite his work's implications for, among other things, spinal cord regeneration.
Much of the information in this book was so unfamiliar and surprising that I was unable to retain it; yet I've never seen a better developed argument intended for lay people that discusses previous research, describes each of Dr. Becker's experiments with its rationale and results, and spells out ultimate implications. The evidence and logic are inescapable.
Copyright © 2008 by Heidi Boudro