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Beaming pain relief

A Soviet technology developed during the Cold War to keep short-range military communications secure may someday provide relief from hard-to-treat conditions such as nerve pain, intense itching, and nausea caused by chemotherapy. And, with the support of a $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Temple University School of Medicine scientists are the only group in the United States now investigating this alternative therapy.

The four-year Research Center of Excellence grant was awarded by the NIH's Center for Alternative and Complimentary Medicine.

Millimeter wave therapy, which directs a low-intensity electromagnetic beam to the skin, has been used for more than 25 years in Eastern Europe, where it is credited with alleviating more than 50 different conditions, ranging from heart disease to skin wounds and even cancer. Doctors there believe that the waves boost the immune system, act as an anti-inflammatory, and provide sedation and pain relief, all with virtually no side effects.

While the therapy remains largely unknown in the West, Marvin Ziskin, M.D., professor of radiology and medical physics at Temple, first encountered it in the early 1990s on a trip to the former Soviet Union. Ziskin was intrigued but extremely skeptical about the alleged power of millimeter wave therapy because only positive results had been reported.

"Although there were many studies of millimeter wave therapy in the Russian literature, their research doesn't go through the same scrutiny as ours," he said.

Over the next decade, Ziskin and his team of Russian and other scientists subjected the claims of success to critical scientific evaluation. They wanted to learn how millimeter waves affected biological conditions and uncover any possible undocumented side effects.

Numerous studies, two of which were supported by grants from the NIH, eventually convinced Ziskin that millimeter wave therapy could one day be used in Western Medicine.
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Contact: Eryn Jelesiewicz
dobeck@temple.edu
215-707-0730
Temple University
16-Feb-2006


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