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Magnetic power
Wednesday 4 August 2004 9.00-9.30pm

Magnetic behaviour is one of the fundamental properties of matter. They have been with us since the beginning of time - but their uses are far more common than we realise.

MRI scanner
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Quentin Cooper explores the behaviour of magnets and how they're being used in healthcare.

Magnets are already used in a variety of ways: to remove scrap metal from grains, glass, chemicals, plastics, minerals, and chocolate. Archaeologists use them to detect ancient artefacts buried below ground, and magnetic traps are being used for removing ferrous contaminants from liquid, slurried pipelines, troughs - or blood.

Researchers at the University of Washington have discovered a method of treating malaria with magnetic fields. It could prove revolutionary in controlling the disease the World Health Organisation calls one of the world's most complex and serious human health concerns.

A 20-minute spell in an MRI tube has been shown to improve the mental health of severely depressed patients at the McLean Psychiatric Hospital in Belmont.

Scientists at the Neuromagnetics Research Laboratory at Vanderbilt University in the USA are investigating the effect of magnets on epileptic patients.
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