A model of de-myelination for multiple sclerosis
By Simon Ewart-Grist
For this demonstration you need -
1. A supply of ordinary round party balloons.
2. A pair of bead magnets, 3mm dia.
3. A digital clock plugged into the mains
In theory, you only need one balloon but the first is bound to burst, so several are recommended. If you don't have, or can't borrow from a friend, the 3mm diameter bead magnets, I'm afraid you will have to order a pot of 100 on the internet.
Its important that your bedside digital clock is the type that has a mains transformer inside. If you are not sure, then pick it up and briefly hold it to your ear. If you can hear it humming quietly, it contains a transformer.
Place one bead magnet inside a balloon and allow it to fall near to the lowest point. Attract a second bead magnet to the first but on the outside, so the balloon skin is sandwiched between the two.
Now, with a table in front of you, carefully inflate the balloon to about three-quarters of it's normal size and knot it. Any more, it will certainly burst. No worries – the magnets will not be flung to the far side of the room but will drop neatly on the table in front of you, and so you can repeat. Perhaps don't inflate quite so much next time! Do not attempt to move the magnets from now on!
Place the inflated balloon on top of your digital clock so that the magnets are close to the transformer. You should be able to feel the balloon skin vibrating in your hands. Leave in this position for at least 6 hours, overnight is preferable.
In the morning, you will notice the balloon has shrunk. Allow this to continue until the balloon is about 100mm in diameter. Using a thin tip felt pen, draw a circle around the magnets. Now, holding the outside magnet between finger and thumb, pull it away from the balloon skin. It will not burst but the magnet inside will fall to the lowest point.
Carefully examine the balloon where the magnets were. You will see a tiny, tiny hole and will be able to feel the remaining air escaping if you hold it towards your face.
The hole has been produced by the magnets vibrating in the electromagnetic field from the transformer in the clock.
So why is this like de-myelination?
In the brain and in the bloodstream are molecules of magnetite. They form chains that may be a single molecule in width and 10 to 20 molecules in length. These are called magnetosomes and are ferromagnetic. They are surrounded by a sheath of bacteria which may hold them firm to vein walls together with magnetite mol ecules. They are aligned with the Earth's magnetic field, particularly when we are stationary in sleep. This will include the angle of dip which varies from zero at the equator to 90 degrees at the poles. They thus behave like the spike of a pneumatic road drill..Vibration is produced by tiny electromagnetic fields at 50Hz that surround us all the time. Hence they will wear a hole in exactly the same way. The effectiveness of this depends on the sine of the angle of elevation which is zero at the equator and 1 at both poles. Think about it and reply with any questions you may have.