The Electronics and Our Health (BM053bE)

Readers accompanying this section should be curious about what kind of contribution health electronics can give or even what kind of relationship electronics may have with our health condition. The simple observation of the electronic equipment that exists in the medical clinics or in establishments of gymnastics or physiotherapy can give an idea of what can be done.

Obs. This article was the introduction of a book which we published on the subject in the 70's. The article had some updates and gives an idea of ??the type of projects that this section contains. We even have a second edition of this work that is our book: Electronic Projects For Health and Welfare (In Portuguese).


However, there are several types of appliances which we can use, without medical recommendations, and that can have interesting effects on our well-being.


A series of examples, some of which correspond to devices we are going to teach the reader to assemble, show what electronics can do in these cases.


Our body is very sensitive to the electrical charges that are manifested in the environment. What happens is that our nervous system operates by electrical impulses, and external interferences of an electrical nature can occur in a much more intense way than readers can think.


Thus, in the connection of each nerve cell (called synapse), as shown in Figure 1, there are ions, which are charged particles of positive and negative electricity, which are responsible for the transfer of the stimuli.


   Figure 1 - The synapse
Figure 1 - The synapse



This means that when we feel something (pain, heat, tension, cold, etc.) this corresponds to stimuli that propagate through these electrical connections that spread throughout our body.


However, if electric charges present in the environment reach these junctions, a change in the way we feel the sensations and even undue sensations can occur.


The most common case, studied over a long time by doctors worldwide, is the effect of positive ionization or the presence of positive electric charges on objects.


If we walk in an environment that has a carpet that, by friction tends to load our body with positive charges, these charges seem to affect our nervous system in the sense of causing us to be unwell, as shown in Figure 2.


Figure 2 - Friction charges our body with electricity
Figure 2 - Friction charges our body with electricity



Headaches (migraines), malaise, discouragement are some of the effects that positive charges accumulated in an environment can cause.


Many people often manifest pain in deep wounds (broken bones in accidents) just before lightning storms occur. "I feel it in the bones!" Say these people, which is true.


Storm clouds often induce strong positive charges in the environments over which they hover, thus causing the sensations described. People with deep wounds or problems of the type indicated become more sensitive to the presence of loads.


In cars, the accumulation of loads can cause discomfort to drivers, as the friction of the wheel rubber with the ground produces positive charges that accumulate in the vehicle.


One way to "get rid" of the electric charges accumulated in the vehicle is with the use of tips or dischargers consisting of metal wires in a piece of flexible rubber that almost lands on the ground, as shown in Figure 3.


Figure 3 - Dissipating accumulated loads
Figure 3 - Dissipating accumulated loads



These devices help to discharge the electricity accumulated in the car, thus avoiding the driver's most sensitive malaise.


A type of person who is especially sensitive to the loads accumulated in objects is the one that has allergies, mainly the ones which affect the respiratory system.


It has been observed in studies conducted in the United States that the negative charge of objects causes relief in the seizures of people with allergic problems and reduces pain in people who have burn problems.


However, positive charges appear to have the opposite effect.


The most interesting of these studies is that loads do not affect people in the same way and there are even those who have a "sensitivity to the contrary", feeling relieved by the positive charges, but their amount is much less.


Room ionizers, which produce negative charges and spread them through the air, are sold in specialist houses and can be used without problems.


These devices are connected to the power network, and through an electrode, they spread negative ions, as shown in Figure 4.


Figure 4 - An air ionizer
Figure 4 - An air ionizer



In this section we will teach the reader to assemble several of these ionizers, which can be very useful if the reader has allergic problems, or works in a carpet or very dry environment .



Pollution control


Another area where we can use electronics to alleviate problems is pollution-related.


In the industry, one type of pollution filter widely used is the electrostatic filter.


It consists of a wire screen through which the smoke of a chimney passes, which is charged strongly with static electricity, as shown in Figure 5.


Figure 5 - The electrostatic filter
Figure 5 - The electrostatic filter



Solid polluting particles which are not to be released into the atmosphere, in the presence of the electric charge, are attracted, trapped and agglomerated.


With the agglomeration of these particles they become heavy enough to fall into an appropriate place, without being thrown into the atmosphere, with losses that we all know.


Many places have laws which require the use of these filters, although this is not always the case.


On a smaller scale, it is possible to build a filter of this type for household use.


This filter could be installed in a window or in a ventilation system, thus avoiding polluted air with suspended solid particles (dust or other) reaching a child's room or a place where people with allergies or who are sensitive are in.


A project in this sense will be described in this book, and may be modified according to the reader's need. The basic idea can even be used in industrial processes to precipitate certain products.


Still in relation to the pollution, we have the important case of the waters, mainly those that arrive at our faucets.


In many places, however good they are treated, the waters are high in calcium salts which make their taste unpleasant, that is, they become what is called technically hard water.


A discovered way to improve this hardness by softening the water is to apply a strong magnetic field.


The magnetic field precipitates the calcium salts making the water taste more pleasant.


Simple apparatus for producing magnetic field which improves water quality can be easily assembled and in this section we describe the assembly of one of them (BM021E an d BM022E).


For the direct application to our body, or for the control of our body states, we can also rely on several electronic devices.


We already have examples of selling a myriad of simple equipment which does not require a prescription to use, and which in most cases promise much more than they do, and some actually do nothing.


What happens is that in many cases they take advantage of the controversies that exist in relation to some electrical manifestations and which can lead the less prepared customer to be deceived by a smart salesman.


In this case, we include devices such as those that use magnets or coils in order to cure or bring pain relief from magnetic fields, as shown in Figure 6.


Figure 6 - Sleep
Figure 6 - Sleep "inducer"



Studies on the effects of magnetic fields on people's health are not yet definitive. What is known only is that intense magnetic fields can even be harmful to health, and this should be taken into account when someone thinks of buying any appliance that applies intense fields.


As far as static fields are concerned, there are no studies indicating that they can have any effect on our body, since they should act on particles of the same nature, and in our body they cannot be detected easily or do not have a purpose that is related to our well-being, or are in a form that does not answer to fields, such as the hemoglobin iron in our blood.


A small possibility of effect that can be experienced, since there are no contraindications, would be that the relaxing effects or massagers of small fields, however, as we explain, its effectiveness is not yet fully proven.


More important effects are obtained by appliances that massage by means of vibrations and these are found in a good variety of ways.


They basically consist of an electromagnet which drives a vibrating plate.


The electromagnet can be powered by the power grid or by an electronic circuit if a frequency other than 60 Hz is desired.


The electric stimuli enter into another category of apparatus of use in this field.


The effects of stimuli on relaxation and even elimination of pain are part of the recognized medical literature.


Thus, electroshock is a therapy that can be reliably used. Of course, as a simple relaxation tool or even for massaging, there is no need to consult a specialist. However, for the use in any type of therapy, this appliance should not be used without a prescription.


The most common types work with batteries and have electrodes for the application, as shown in Figure 7.


Figure 7 - An electrostimulator
Figure 7 - An electrostimulator



The intensity and frequency settings of the applied high-voltage pulses allow the applicator and receiver to adjust the stimuli to achieve the desired results without being painful or unpleasant.


Another way of well-being consists of forms of relaxation which make use of hypnotic or similar effects.


One way to get relaxation is with the so-called white noise, which consists of sea noise, which can be synthesized with electronic circuits.


Devices that synthesize the sound of the sea can be found for sale in countries in Europe and are a great way to relax when used. For the same purpose there are special recordings, such as sacred music, and even the effects of gongs, such as those used in Buddhist monasteries for the purpose of obtaining a more advanced state of meditation.


Another device which has a similar operation principle is the generator of hypnotic light pulses.


The paced pulses lead the person to a state of semi-hypnosis and, therefore, to a shutdown of momentary problems and, in some cases, to the reduction of pain.


We will describe in this section the assembly of a pair of glasses for this purpose.


It is a hypnotic eyepiece that can be quite interesting for readers who wish to experiment in this direction.


For those who enjoy gymnastics, there are interesting electronic gadgets that can be assembled or purchased.


A highlight is for the pedometer, as shown in Figure 8, which consists of an electronic control for running or walking.


   Figure 8 - The pedometer
Figure 8 - The pedometer



It is a device that is strapped to the waist and that has been programmed various information such as the distance that the user covers at each step, the time that he/she wants to walk and his/her weight.

At every step, there is a balance sensor which allows you to record this on the internal "computer". Thus, at the end of the programmed walk (when the alarm sounds, if programmed), the distance traveled and the number of calories consumed can be read on the LCD.

Another simpler device that can aid in gymnastics is the rimmer. Maintaining the pace of the exercises is very important for its efficiency and this can be easily achieved by an electronic circuit.

An exercise rimmer is one of the assemblies we describe in this section.




Of course, there are many more things about electronics than the ones we have described in this chapter and the reader can find some in this section of our website.

The reader interested in the subject, looking for information in other articles, can learn a lot and find many interesting things.

Circuit Bench