THE BIOELECTROMAGNETICS SOCIETY
7519 RIDGE ROAD
FREDERICK, MD 21702-3519, USA
A Publication of The Bioelectromagnetics Society
The Public Policy Committee chaired by the immediate Past President and composed of the preceding four Presidents, and the Executive Committee composed of the Officers of the Society worked with Charles Polk to reply to the article that recently appeared in the New York Times. This letter was submitted to the Editor on July 29, 1999 but has yet (9-9-99) to appear in theTimes.
To the Editor,
As scientists and engineers who have studied biological effects, both beneficial and hazardous, arising from electric and magnetic field exposures, we find the story by William Broad, given first page coverage in the July 24 New York Times very disappointing. The story, dealing with government findings of falsification by a single researcher, is unfairly misleading to the general public by presenting as finally resolved and settled a scientific issue that is still controversial and has significant public health implications.
Careful readers of Mr. Broad's article eventually find out that "in letters sent over the Internet to scientific colleagues and interested parties, Liburdy has denied that his research is wrong and said he agreed to the federal settlement only because he was unable to spend $1 million to mount a legal defense." In a letter published on July 16 in "Science", the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr. Liburdy wrote, "The raw data for my two calcium studies are valid. Thus, these papers are not being withdrawn, and the scientific conclusions stand as published."
What is particularly troubling in Mr. Broad's story is the use of the "affair Liburdy" to make it appear that the question of a possible link between electric and magnetic fields and the incidence of cancer has been conclusively settled. He writes " in the years since Liburdy's research appeared, more than 20 studies have found no hard evidence that electric power causes cancer, a National Institutes of Health panel concluded recently". I do not know to which "National Institutes of Health panel" Mr. Broad refers. However the voluminous (477 page) report of the "Working Group" of thirty-one scientists, convened by the National Institute of Environmental Health (NIEHS) in 1998 concluded, after exhaustive study of the pertinent published data, that ELF-EMF (extremely low frequency electric and magnetic fields) are a "possible carcinogen". This conclusion was largely based on epidemiological data from many different studies on the residential exposure to ELF fields and increased occurrence of chronic lymphocytic leukemia associated with occupational exposure. In the recent summary report, prepared by NIEHS (NIEHS Publication 99-4493, May 4, 1999) the director, Dr. Kenneth Olden states that "The NIEHS concludes that ELF-EMF exposure cannot be recognized as entirely safe because of weak scientific evidence that exposure may pose a leukemia hazard. In our opinion, this finding is insufficient to warrant aggressive regulatory concern. However, because virtually everyone in the United States uses electricity and therefore is routinely exposed to ELF-EMF, passive regulatory action is warranted such as continued emphasis on educating both the public and the regulated community on means aimed at reducing exposure. The NIEHS does not believe that other cancers or non-cancer health outcomes provide sufficient evidence of a risk to currently warrant concern."
We find it strange that Mr. Broad selects and quotes as his only expert in this area "Robert L. Park, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland who has long questioned the power-cancer link" and who holds in the opinion of many, who are familiar with ELF-EMF health effects research, an unjustified extreme point of view. We also find it troubling that Mr. Broad appears to dismiss the many epidemiological studies that did show some, although usually weak association between ELF-EMF and adverse health effects, by giving some, but incomplete details of a single study. According to its authors, and as reported by Mr. Broad, it showed no evidence for a relation between ELF exposure and acute lymphocytic (childhood) leukemia ("ALL"). But other epidemiologists have questioned this interpretation, as discussed for example in the NIEHS "Working Group" report, and have pointed out that the data actually give evidence for an association of ELF-EMF with the occurrence of ALL if the average exposure level is above 3 milligauss while the authors' analysis considered only results for so-called "wire-codes" and exposures up to 2 milligauss ( 2 thousandths of one gauss).
One difficulty in this entire area is that people talk about "ELF-EMF" and "power lines" in very general terms, without usually specifying the critical details, such as the magnitude of the fields. Incidentally, the fields in the vicinity of power lines are electric and magnetic, but are not "electromagnetic radiation." Based on the exposure data that has been collected so far, most people need not worry about health effects from power frequency fields encountered in the home. Electric fields inside homes are mostly below 10 Volts per meter (except near some electric blankets), and magnetic fields are usually below 1 milligauss (except extremely close to some electric appliances). It is extremely unlikely that fields at that level have any health effect. However the story is quite different in the immediate vicinity -within a few feet- of some power lines or electric devices that are operated at high voltage or carry large currents (which produce the magnetic fields). There is much we do not know about biological effects, adverse or possibly beneficial, of larger amplitude electric and magnetic fields to which some people are exposed. At the present time the "Recommended Actions" suggested by Dr. Olden in the NIEHS report appear to be justified: "The NIEHS suggests that the level and strength of evidence supporting ELF-EMF exposure as a human health hazard are insufficient to warrant aggressive regulatory actions; thus, we do not recommend actions such as stringent standards on electric appliances and a national program to bury all transmission and distribution lines. Instead, the evidence suggests passive measures such as a continued emphasis on educating both the public and regulated community on means aimed at reducing exposures. NIEHS suggests that the power industry continue its current practice of siting power lines to reduce exposures and continue to explore ways to reduce the creation of magnetic fields around transmission and distribution lines without creating new hazards. We also encourage technologies that lower exposures from neighborhood distribution lines provided that they do not increase other risks, such as those from accidental electrocution or fire."
We most strongly agree with Dr. Olden's statement that "more remains to be learned about the physics of magnetic field interaction with living systems."
Professor of Bioengineering
SUNY Stony Brook
President, Bioelectromagnetics Society
Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering
University of Rhode Island
Betty F. Sisken
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
University of Kentucky
Past President & Chairman, Public Policy Committee, Bioelectromagnetics Society
During the Annual Business meeting held in Long Beach, CA, Ken McLeod - the newly inducted President of the Society - set out his goals for the upcoming year. He intends to focus on two principal goals during his tenure, both directed toward making the society even more useful and responsive to its members needs. These two goals include improving the lines of communication among members, and, expanding the society into additional biological research areas involving non-ionizing radiation.
Rapid and easy communication is becoming critically important as the international and multidisciplinary character of the Society continues to develop. Currently about one-half of our membership resides in North America, with the other half primarily distributed between Australia, Asia and Europe.
Further, the number of molecular and cell biologists, chemists, and epidemiologists in the society has grown considerably, yet these individuals and the expertise they bring to the society may not be known to all of our members. Identification of possible collaborators, requests for information, effective construction of committees, the efficient operation of these committees, and communication of our interests to outside communities is more than ever dependent on internet communication. To this end, his goals are to: a) Establish an on-line membership directory, which will not only provide contact information on our membership, but also identify the areas of expertise of our members; b) Establish an electronic version of our newsletter, or list-service, to ensure timely dissemination of Society information; c) Establish a Bioelectromagnetics Newsgroup, to provide the opportunity for members to interact with, and query the expertise of, the membership at large in the period between annual meetings; d) Initiate action for the Bioelectromagnetics Society to become a member of the Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, a Council of Societies whose members are working at the interface between Biology, Medicine and Engineering.
Expansion of our membership base will be amply rewarded through the diversity of opinions and expertise new members can bring to our meetings and individual interactions. Before the international research effort on ELF and RF hazard research begins to wind down, it is appropriate for the Society to begin recruiting members from the many other areas of science and engineering where Bioelectromagnetic interactions play a major role. As examples, these would include:
Medical Applications, where MRI Imaging, Electrical Impedance Tomography, and static magnetic field applications are playing increasingly important roles in health care;
Agricultural and Marine Sciences, where investigators are grappling with issues such as electroporation of biofilms in the decontamination of surfaces in the food industry, and developing an understanding of Electro-sensory and Magnetosensory biological systems;
Developmental Biology, where the role of electric fields in normal development and repair is widely believed to be fundamental, yet only minimal inroads have been made in our understanding;
Biotechnology, where electrokinetic processes such as electrophoresis are the basis for molecular isolation procedures, drug delivery and diagnostic systems.
Any members interested in helping to accomplish these goals, or with comments or questions, are encouraged to contact Ken (e-mail: Kenneth.McLeod@sunysb.edu).
Ken McLeod (New York, USA) - 01
Tel: 516-444-3487 Fax: 516-444-7671
VICE/PRESIDENT - PRESIDENT ELECT
Mats-Olof Mattsson (Orebro, Sweden) - 02
Tel: +46 19 30 3394 Fax: +46 19 30 3463
Paul Gailey (Tennessee, USA) - 01
Tel: 423-574-0419 Fax: 423-574-5227
Ewa Czerska (Maryland, USA) - 01
Tel: 301-594-1212 Fax: 301-480-4224
Ben Greenebaum (Wisconsin, USA)
Tel: 414-595-2065 Fax: 414-595-2056
Betty Sisken (Kentucky, USA) - 00
Tel: 606-257-5796 Fax: 606-257-1856
Mary Ellen O'Connor (Oklahoma, USA)
Tel: 918-631-2838 Fax: 918-631-2833
Richard Luben (California, USA)
Tel: 909-787-5991 Fax: 909-787-3799
Ken Joyner (Scoresby, Australia) - 00
Tel: +61 3 9213 7603 Fax: +61 3 9213 7511
Bruce McLeod (Montana, USA) - 02
Tel: 406-994-5972 Fax: 406-994-5958
Asher Sheppard (California, USA) - 01
Tel: 909-798-7791 Fax: 909-307-5810
Larry Anderson (Washington, USA) - 01
Tel: 509-375-2294 Fax: 509-375-3764
Maria Feychting (Stockholm, Sweden) - 02
Tel: +46 8 728 7465 Fax: +46 2 31 3961
Rosemonde Mandeville (Quebec, Canada) - 00
Tel: 514-686-5613 Fax: 514-686-5617
Martin Meltz (Texas, USA) - 02
Tel: 210-567-5560 Fax: 210-567-3446
Steven Miller (California, USA) - 00
Tel: 650-859-5788 Fax: 650-859-3342
Frank Prato (London, Canada) - 01
Tel: 519-646-6100x4140 Fax: 519-646-6135
Niels Kuster (Zurich, Switzerland) - 00
Tel: +41 1 632 2737 Fax: +41 1 632 1057
Alan Preece (Bristol, UK) - 01
Tel: +44 117 928 2469 Fax: +44 117 928 2470
Monica Sandstrom (Umea, Sweden) - 02
Tel: +46 90 165734 Fax: +46 90 166508
William G. Wisecup (Maryland, USA)
Tel: 301-663-4252x1 Fax: 301-371-8955
The Hyatt Regency, Harbor Room
Long Beach, CA, USA
June 20, 1999
Present: Betty Sisken (President), Ken McLeod (Vice President), Paul Gailey (Treasurer), Ewa Czerska (Secretary), Ben Greenebaum (Editor-in-Chief), Martin Blank (Past President), Frank Barnes, Ken Joyner, Asher Sheppard (Engineering/Physical Sciences Board Members), Larry Anderson, Henry Lai, Rosemonde Mandeville, Steven Miller, Joe Salvatore, Frank Prato (Biological/Medical Sciences Board Members), Greg Lotz, Niels Kuster, Alan Preece (At Large Board Members), Mary Ellen O'Connor (ex-officio, Newsletter Editor), William Wisecup (ex-officio, Executive Director), Gloria Parsley (W/L Associates), John Male (Society member).
Sisken and other members of the Executive Committee have written to various US government agencies over the past year on behalf of the Society. The letters addressed the decline in funding for bioelectromagnetics research due to the demise of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) RAPID, program and the bioelectromagnetics effort within the Department of Energy (DOE). Board members voiced opinions about the documents recently released by NIEHS and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the role and responsibility of BEMS as a scientific Society to respond to public issues and to engage in attempts to educate the public and the media, and the focus of the Society regarding hazards and potential beneficial applications of electric and magnetic fields. It was the consensus of the Board that the Public Policy Committee continue to be responsible for initiating and presenting position statements to the Board for consideration for public release.
Sisken also wrote a letter to the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regarding the recommended changes in the Freedom of Information Act. A meeting was held at Old Dominion University in April (First International Symposium on Nonthermal Medical/Biological Treatments Using Electromagnetic Fields and Ionized Gases) that BEMS co-sponsored and approximately 200 attended.
McLeod reported for the Technical Program Committee that there are 14 rather than 12 platform sessions because there was a shortage of poster space. The opening Plenary Session will have time for a longer round-table discussion because one of the speakers, M. Dolan, had to cancel due to illness. Mary McBride from Canada will speak at 3:00 PM on Wednesday as the last paper in Session 12: Epidemiology.
According to Treasurer Paul Gailey, the financial position of the Society is good now but the grant for the Newsletter will expire next year and meeting revenue will decline as sponsor agencies reduce their commitment to bioelectromagnetics research. He suggested that the Board must consider additional funding or a reduction of expenditures for the future. A 1998-99 Financial Report Appears below.
Mary Ellen O'Connor reported that the last Newsletter was mailed in June and the next two issues are scheduled before the end of summer. The Newsletter should be on schedule by September. Discussions with Asher Sheppard, Chair of the Publications Committee, and Richard Luben, Website Editor, suggest that the Society is not ready for a totally electronic Newsletter but information regarding such a change is being gathered. The biggest problem with the Newsletter is getting input from members and the Board.
Ben Greenebaum reported that the journal submissions are reaching the page limitations. The Society for Physical Regulation in Biology and Medicine (SPRBM) has asked for a modification in the purpose statement of the journal and the Publication Committee is working on a proposed revision. Per the recommendation of the publisher, Wiley-Liss, the Board voted to raise the institutional subscription rate to $725 and the member rate to $80. The appointment of Professor Ferdinando Bersani as an Associate Editor was previously approved and Dr. Ann Henderson was approved as Associate Editor. Greenebaum noted that Suzanne Bawin and Maria Stuchly completed their terms as Editorial Board members.
The European Bioelectromagnetics Association (EBEA) would like to consider joint meetings when BEMS is in Europe. EBEA would also like to discuss some joint membership fees. The next EBEA meeting will be in Finland. A Third World Congress would probably be scheduled for 2002 or 2003.
The Board discussed the elements of the current Strategic Plan including membership expansion with more student involvement, educational outreach including emphasis on CME credits and peer review for meeting presentations, and how to provide information regarding the research expertise of members to other members. Other items addressed in the plan are publications, public issues, international representation, and financial solvency and societal administration.
William G. Wisecup, Executive Director, reported on his view of the status of the Society and announced his resignation effective December 31, 2000.
The chairs of the Standing Committees provided some reports. There was 48% member participation in the election, the results of which will be announced at the Annual Business Meeting. Regarding Intersocietal Affairs Henry Lai reported that the URSI abstracts for their August meeting are on the Web. Frank Barnes will be the chairman of Commission K after the Toronto meeting and there will be a regional URSI meeting in Boulder, CO USA in January, 2000. Kent Hoffman reported that SPRBM has a new Web site and their next meeting will be in Miami, FL USA January 5-8, 2000. SPRBM does not have CME credit and should work closely with BEMS to establish a CME session.
Asher Sheppard reported that the Publications Committee is working with Lane Smith, President of SPRBM, regarding a modified position statement for the journal. Asher is the chair of the joint journal committee (BEMS, EBEA, & SPRBM) that has 6 members. The chair is renewable for one year and must have a successor. Paul Gailey mentioned that increased reliance on electronic publication could pose problems regarding ownership of copyrights should publishers change.
Frank Prato presented and the Board approved Leroy Hamilton and Richard Lovely for Emeritus membership. The position statement put forward by Martin Blank for the Public Policy Committee was tabled for further input from the Board.
Alan Preece reported that the International Advisory Committee advocates sponsorship of more international meetings and Rosemonde Mandeville suggested that Educational Outreach could identify bioengineering programs at universities and provide a speakers group.
Sisken appointed a committee to examine the management of the Society after 2000 including Greg Lotz (chair), Frank Barnes, Mary Ellen O'Connor, and Joseph Salvatore. Kjell Hansson-Mild and Ken Joyner were added to this committee.
The Hyatt Regency, Regency Ballroom A
Long Beach, CA USA
June 23, 1999
Present: Ken McLeod (President), Mats-Olaf Mattsson (Vice-President), Paul Gailey (Treasurer), Ewa Czerska (Secretary), Ben Greenebaum (Editor-in-Chief), Betty Sisken (Past President), Ken Joyner, Asher Sheppard (Engineering/Physical Sciences Board Members), Rosemonde Mandeville, Steven Miller, Larry Anderson, Frank Prato, Maria Feychting, Martin Meltz (Biological/Medical Sciences Board Members), Neils Kuster, Alan Preece (At Large Board Members), Mary Ellen O'Connor (Newsletter Editor, ex-officio), William G. Wisecup (Executive Director, ex-officio) and Gloria Parsley (W/L Associates).
Ken McLeod stated that his emphasis as President of the Society would be on communication. Bill Wisecup reported that there were approximately 450 attendees in Long Beach with about 50% USA and 50% outside of USA. Ben Greenebaum stated that the editors would be more aggressive with reviewers regarding timeliness of manuscript reviews. The Technical Program Committee and Awards Committee will consider whether to have all student papers as posters for the next meeting. The question of CME credits in Europe will be pursued. The Newsletter is in transition and will announce the publication options to more e-mail during the upcoming year.
The Munich meeting in 2000 will have a Friday afternoon session for the public organized by BEMS but not as an official part of the BEMS Technical Program. Collaboration between BEMS and EBEA will be explored and Mattsson suggested the general theme will be "The Future." Further focus for the New Zealand regional meeting should be placed on Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
McLeod appointed Martin Meltz to chair the Development Committee, Maria Feychting to the Intersocietal Affairs and Monica Sandstrom to the Elections Committee. Richard Luben will continue to explore the Third World Congress and Paul Gailey will activate the Budget Committee. McLeod indicated that he would coordinate the Strategic Plan. Wisecup will explore sites for the 2001 meeting. Greg Lotz presented a timetable for the management committee and will have a report at the Winter Board Meeting. Betty Sisken will take the modified position statement presented by Ken McLeod to the Public Policy Committee for further discussion. The Winter Board Meeting is scheduled for February 5, 2000 in Washington, DC USA. Some time on February 6th should also be planned for discussion of future management.
By Joseph Salvatore
The Bioelectromagnetics Society formed a Continuing Medical Education Committee 4 years ago to develop educational programs relating bioelectromagnetics research to clinical medicine. Through the efforts of that committee, with considerable input and effort by Dr. William Wisecup, the Society was accredited this year by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to grant Category I CME credit to physicians. At the 1998 Annual Meeting in St. Pete Beach, Florida, a mock CME program was conducted as required by ACCME. That program was a resounding success, and contributed to our success in obtaining accreditation for 1999.
The CME Program for 1999 was a thematic approach, and featuring talks on Magnetic Resonance Imaging. These talks ranged from discussions about the changing technology of MRI coils and subsequent bioeffects, to the proper preparation of a site for MRI. The session, held on Wednesday, June 23, was well attended by physicians and non-physicians, and 12 certificates of Category I credit were awarded. Dr. Wisecup relates that the ACCME observer, who was required to attend the session,appeared favorably impressed by the program, the attendance, and the preparation of the forms required for the session.
The initial talk of the session, presented by Dr. E. Kanal of the University of Pittsburgh, emphasized the danger inherent in the strength of the magnet. Many of his illustrations demonstrated how large and small metallic objects could be drawn to the magnet, representing a danger to patients and staff, and causing considerable damage to the MRI. His slides showing objects such as floor buffing machines in the magnet were particularly graphic.
Dr. Brian Rutt, of the Robards Research Institute, reviewed his research on high-speed gradient coil technology, and the real limitations to imaging speed represented by peripheral nerve magnetostimulation. His work demonstrated that faster imaging, both body and head/neck can be accomplished without painful peripheral nerve stimulation. The clinical application of MRI to a number of human diseases including neurologic, cardiovascular, and malignant was described by Dr. Tom Budinger of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who was acknowledged by the other speakers in this symposium as a pioneer in Magnetic Resonance Imaging. The MRI and MRI spectroscopic images shown in his talk generated considerable interest in the potential of these techniques for future diagnosis. Cardiac and neurologic imaging was particularly illustrative, as were metabolic imaging studies using isotopes such as 13C, 23Na, and 39K. Dr. Budinger's talk explored the dynamic nature of this work and the potential for future developments.
Clinical magnetic resonance spectroscopy represents an exciting area of development for diagnosis of many kinds of human disease. Dr. Terry Thompson of the Lawson Research Institute presented an overview of this aspect of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, including information on the diagnosis of neurologic and cardiac diseases. Particularly interesting was Dr. Thompson's extensive experience and spectroscopic data used to differentiate muscle pathologies, and the possibility of using these spectroscopic techniques to diagnose malignant tumors.
The diagnosis of disease and injury of the wrist and hand has always presented a formidable challenge to both radiologist and clinician. However, the MR imaging and interpretation of the hand and wrist, presented by Dr. William Pavlovsky of the University of Western Ontario, opens a much needed window on this part of human body. His talk, amply illustrated with radiographs and MR images, showed how this technique could help diagnose not only the more clinically apparent problems, but many unsuspected diseases and injuries of bone and supporting tissue.
Dr. Dick Drost, from the University of Western Ontario, in the final talk of the session, presented a thorough review on preparing a site for an MRI device. This part of the session contained considerable information of importance to the practicing physician with respect to: safety concerns for patient and staff, limiting electrical or electronic device interference, and other aspects of planning. Also reviewed were the pros and cons of a
permanently placed machine vs. a permanently connected MRI in a trailer.
The Society awarded 12 certificates of CME to eligible attendees. The CME Committee is now developing ideas for future CME sessions and welcomes suggestions for topics. Please forward suggestions to Dr. Joe Salvatore or Dr. Wisecup.
C.K. Chou, Ph.D.
During the recent BEMS meeting in Long Beach, there was a comment from the floor concerning the membership in the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) Scientific Committee SC89-5, which is responsible for revising Report 86 entitled "Biological Effects and Exposure Criteria for Radio-frequency Electromagnetic Fields", and challenging whether someone from industry (myself) should be on the committee.
While I will not discuss the level of participation of industrial employees or any other group in professional committees, I will only relate my own experiences in committee involvement during my transition from an academic position to an industry environment. In April 1998, after working 27 years in academia, 14 years at the University of Washington and 13 years at the City of Hope National Medical Center, I accepted a position as Director of Motorola's Corporate RF Dosimetry Laboratory. Before I accepted this new position, however, I realized the generally-perceived sensitivity of moving from academia to industry. Once a Chinese wiseman said, "Do not tie your shoes in a watermelon field, since the farmer may think you are stealing his melons".
In January 1998, I sent letters to all committees and public service functions that I was involved in to express my concern and offer my resignation. At that time, some relevant positions included Associate Editor of the journal Bioelectromagnetics, Vice Chairman of Scientific Committee 89-5 of NCRP, Council Member of NCRP, Co-Chairman of the IEEE SCC28 Subcommittee 4, and a member of IEEE Medical Technology Policy Committee (MTPC).
The Editorial Board of Bioelectromagnetics and the BEMS Board of Directors discussed this issue and decided that I should continue to serve as Associate Editor of the journal. Mr. Charles Meinhold, President of NCRP, informed me that they wanted my service because of my expertise in non-ionizing radiation without relation to my employment. Dr. James Lin, the Chairman of SC89-5, stated that "I would like you to remain on the Committee. If at some point you feel the change will affect the Committee's deliberations, please let me know immediately". My supervisor, Dr. Quirino Balzano, told me to serve with conscience as a scientist and the company would not influence my judgment. The Executive Committee of IEEE SCC28 also asked me to continue my service. As a result of these responses, I decided to remain in all positions except the IEEE MTPC, which I resigned due to time limitations. Academia and industry should, can, and do work in cooperation over issues regarding the safety of radio frequency exposures, not in competition and definitely not in conflict. At Motorola's Florida Research Laboratory, our mission is to conduct research and testing to ensure that Motorola products emitting electromagnetic energy are safe for employees and customers. Safety is our business. We have the same goal and we will continue to contribute to the field based on solid science.
C.K. Chou, Ph.D.
Motorola Florida Research Laboratories
8000 W Sunrise Blvd.
Plantation, FL 33322
(954) 723-5611 (fax)
ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING , WEDNESDAY JUNE 23, 1999, LONG BEACH, CA, USA
By Betty Sisken
After assuming the presidency of The Bioelectromagnetics Society in June '98, I immediately began writing letters to various members of the media urging them to attend the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF) Study Groups in Minnesota. In July a letter also was sent to Hon. Henry Longset, Acting Assistant Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, and to Dr. Kenneth Olden, Director of NIEHS. In October Martin Blank was chosen as BEMS liaison to IEEE SCC 28 and the designated committee chairs for BEMS were: Awards Committee, Larry Anderson; Development Committee, Henry Lai; Membership Committee, Frank Prato; Publications Committee, Asher Sheppard; Educational Outreach Committee, Rosemonde Mandeville; International Advisory Task Force Committee, Alan Preece; World Congress Planning Committee, Richard Luben, Mats-Olof Mattsson, and Betty Sisken.
In December a draft of the NIEHS report was passed out to members attending a final meeting of the EMF Interagency Advisory Committee and National EMF Advisory Committee in Washington DC. I responded to this report in February by sending a letter to Dr. Kenneth Olden stating that many of the statements in the draft report of December did not agree with the information presented in the NIEHS Working Group Report published in August 1998. In this letter I requested that we submit a list of these inconsistencies. Dr. Olden kindly answered this letter and said that he would accept the information, which we compiled and submitted to him in March. This document was prepared by BEMS members who had served on one or both of the NIEHS and NAS panels and included specific points that were not included in the draft report handed out in December. These points were subsequently included in Dr. Olden's final report.
A Workshop on Therapeutic Applications of EMF, organized by Ewa Czerska and Lee Rosen, was held at Catholic University on Friday, February 12, 1999. The program consisted of 9 speakers and covered examples of work on healing of hard (bone) and soft (nerve) tissue, and recent advances using imaging, and gene transfer techniques. At the BEMS Board meeting held in Washington DC on Saturday February 13th, the important items discussed were: the status of the NIEHS Working Group Report "the problem with the draft report handed out by NIEHS in December" and Dr. Olden's response to our letters. Ken McLeod, Technical Program Chair, presented a draft of the program for the June meeting.
The Strategic Plan prepared by Greg Lotz and his committee stressed present and future goals to include an increased membership, expansion of educational outreach at our annual meetings, such as the opportunity for physicians to earn CME credit, provision of more support for student participation in BEMS, and improvement of the quality of the Society's journal, Newsletter and Internet Web site.
Paul Gailey, Treasurer, will report on Society finances. The total assets are $60,000 less than last year, but still add up to $291,364. There is some drop in membership. Some grants are not available, but altogether the finances are still in good shape.
Alessandro Chiabrera and Larry Anderson asked to be replaced as Associate Editors. Ferdinando Bersani and Ann Henderson were appointed Associate Editors of the journal. Suzanne Bawin and Maria Stuchly resigned from the Editorial Board. The member journal subscription price was raised $20.00 a year. In terms of submissions there is a shift towards more manuscripts from outside of North America. The submissions are still mostly ELF, but there are also some concerning microwave and static magnetic fields. The time for review did not improve that well over the past year. Also, the number of times that the article was sited in other journals dropped recently. Mailing of the journal has been a problem for some members. This delayed mailing may be due to late payment of membership dues. The special issue of the Carl Durney symposium was not marked as Supplement 4. Errata have appeared in both the Newsletter and journal.
Continuing Medical Education
BEMS was approved for CME and after the session today we were approved through December, 2000. Twelve physicians attended the session for credit. There will be a CME session in Munich.
In May 1999, Martin Blank, Chair of the Public Policy Committee, submitted a draft of a "policy statement" that was circulated to his committee. This statement is still under revision but will be circulated shortly.
Sustaining Members and Sponsors
The Society wishes to recognize our Sustaining Members and Sponsors by the presentation of a plaque to:
California Department of Health Services
Electric Power Research Institute
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory
U.S. Nat'l Inst for Environmental Health Sciences
Wireless Technology Research, LLC
Retiring Officers and Board Members
The Society also recognizes retiring Board Members and Officers: Henry Lai, Greg Lotz, Joe Salvatore and Martin Blank. My sincere thanks to Dr. William Wisecup for his guidance and wisdom, and his staff, especially Gloria Parsley and Rosemary Tauszky, for being there whenever I needed their assistance, and making my work proceed more smoothly.
Dr. Wisecup announced his resignation effective December 31, 2000. To address this future vacancy in the Executive Director's position, I appointed Greg Lotz to chair a committee to develop a plan for management of the Society beyond December of 2000, with respect to issues, goals, and needs. The members of this committee are Frank Barnes, Kjell Hansson Mild, Ken Joyner, Mary Ellen O'Connor and Joseph Salvatore.
AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE BIOELECTROMAGNETICS SOCIETY
The Bioelectromagnetics Society
1999 Annual Meeting,
Hyatt Regency Hotel, Long Beach, CA USA
At our annual meeting this week I learned that a charge of scientific misconduct was announced against me in the Federal Register. I saw this text yesterday and I have already spoken to some colleagues but not all of those I wanted to contact, and I thank them for their time. I would like to provide some comments here to the rest of my colleagues and professional friends.
I wish to state several facts not mentioned in the announcement. First, at my request other scientists have independently reviewed the facts and do not agree with this charge. The allegations stem from a disgruntled employee who claimed my research was not reproducible. LBL used this as an opportunity to extensively review my research and to forward a complaint to the Office of Research Intergrity (ORI). The ORI charges center on graphic techniques I used in presenting fura data depicting calcium changes in one figure in a 1992 review paper, and two figures in a 1992 research paper.
For example, in one graph I used a computer to process fura data for graphical presentation including a baseline adjustment and normalization to graphically overlay and compare exposed vs. control traces. Techniques like these are used in the literature, however, I did not mention this computer processing in the methods section. Such "processed" data was then characterized by ORI as being intentionally "fabricated" data in the charge.
I emphasize that the fura data in my studies are valid. Moreover, this data was complemented by calcium-45 data presented in the same papers. This data support my conclusions and the scientific findings in my papers, and they stand as published. This fact was not mentioned in the government notice. It is important to emphasize that I am not retracting any papers nor any scientific conclusions from these studies because they remain valid. I am retracting three fura figures, which are supported by calcium-45 data in the same papers, and I intend on submitting for publication a description of the graphical methods with new corrected figures to complete the record.
I emphasize that several independent scientists have reviewed these facts at my request and they do not agree with a charge of scientific misconduct. However, I cannot financially afford to continue to legally challenge these charges over the next several years. As a result I have agreed to a voluntary exclusion with ORI, and this is not an admission of liability on my part, as stated in the government announcement. I trust that my colleagues in the Society will consider the above issues in a fair and unbiased manner.
Finally, and importantly, I should state for clarity that the breast cancer research I have conducted over the past six years is not part of these charges and has never been challenged. My review published studies stand and these findings have been independently replicated by four other laboratories. For example, at this meeting Dr. Kabuto and Dr. Ishido and their colleagues from Japan report in poster P40 that they successfully replicated our melatonin findings at 12mG. This constitutes the fourth independent laboratory replication of this finding.
In closing I would like to thank you very much for the opportunity to make these comments to you today.
Robert P. Liburdy, Ph.D.
1820 Mountain View Drive
Tiburon, CA 94920
Tel: 415-435-4119 Fax: 415-435-6874
Following is the statement issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services regarding findings of scientific misconduct against Robert P. Liburdy, Charter Member of the Bioelectromagnetics Society.
US DEPT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES OFFICE OF RESEARCH INTEGRITY
FINDINGS OF SCIENTIFIC MISCONDUCT
Release Date June 18, 1999
Notice is hereby given that the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has made a final finding of scientific misconduct in the following case:
Robert P. Liburdy, Ph.D., Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory: Based on an investigation report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) dated July 7, 1995, and an analysis of the data and information from Dr. Liburdy obtained by ORI during its oversight review, ORI found that Dr. Liburdy, former staff biochemist at LBNL, engaged in scientific misconduct in biomedical research by intentionally falsifying and fabricating data and claims about the purported cellular effects of electric and magnetic fields (EMF) that were reported in two scientific papers: (1) Liburdy, R.P. "Biological interactions of cellular systems with time-varying magnetic fields. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 649: 74-95, 1992 ("ANYAS paper"); and (2) Liburdy, R.P. "Calcium signaling in lymphocytes and ELF fields" FEBS Letters 301: 53-59, 1992 (the "FEBS Letters paper"). The ANYAS and FEBS Letters papers were supported by a National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institute of Health (NIH), grant.
The ANYS and FEBS Letters papers reported data indicating that EMF exert a biological effect by altering the entry of calcium across a cell's surface membrane. EMF, which are ubiquitous forms of radiation that arise from diverse sources such as power lines, home wiring and household appliances, have been of public concern for potential health effects. Dr. Liburdy's claims were potentially very important when published in 1992 because they purported to link EMF and calcium signaling, a fundamental cell process governing many important cellular functions.
Dr. Liburdy has entered into Voluntary Exclusive Agreement with ORI. As part of this Agreement, Dr. Liburdy neither admits nor denies ORI's finding of scientific misconduct. The settlement is not an admission of liability on the part of the respondent. As part of the Voluntary Exclusion Agreement, Dr. Liburdy has voluntarily agreed:
(1) to exclude himself from any contracting or subcontracting with any agency of the United States Government and from eligibility for, or involvement in, nonprocurement transactions (e.g., grants and coopera-tive agreements) of the United States Government as defined in 45 C.F.R. Part 76 (Debarment Regulations) for the three (3) year period beginning May 28, 1999;
(2) to exclude himself from serving in any advisory capacity to the Public Health Service (PHS), including but not limited to service on any PHS advisory committee, board, and/or peer committee, or as a consultant for the three year period beginning May 28, 1999; and
(3) to submit letters to the journals ANYAS and FEBS Letters, requesting retraction of Figure 12 of the ANYAS paper and of Figure 6 and 7 of the FEBS Letters paper within 30 days of the date of the agreement.
For further information or inquiries contact:
Division of Research Investigations
Office of Research Integrity
5515 Security Lane, Suite 700
Rockville, MD 20852
October 4-6, 1999. International Seminar on the Effects of Electromagnetic Fields on the Living Environment. Munich, Germany. Sponsored by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), World Health Organization (WHO), and the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS). Contact: Olaf Schulz, S2.5, Institute of Radiation Hygiene, Federal Office for Radiation Protection. (Tel: +49 89 31603 262, Fax: +49 89 31603 180, e-mail: email@example.com). Also contact: M.H. Repacholi, Occupational and Environmental Health, World Health Organization, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland. (Tel: +41 22 791 3427, Fax: +41 22 791 4123, e-mail: repacholim@WHO.int, Web: http://www.who.int/emf/).
November 15-16, 1999. Potential Therapeutic Applications of Magnetic Fields. 1st International Symposium. Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA. Contact: PTAMF, Symposium Secretariat, PO Box 5940, Buena Park, CA, 90622-7530 USA. (Tel: 714-562-7530, Fax: 714-736-7605, e-mail: PTAMF99@mindspring, website: http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/neurology (click on Continuing Medical Education) to download the Program Brochure and Registration Form for the Symposium.).
November 21-24, 1999. Biological Effects, health consequences and standards for pulsed radiofrequency fields. November 26, 1999. WHO EMF Research Coordination Meeting. November 27, 1999. WHO EMF Standards Harmonisation Meeting. Ettore Marjorana Centre for Scientific Culture, Erice, Sicily, Italy. Contact: M.H. Repacholi, WHO, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland. (Tel: +4122 791 3427, Fax: +41 22 791 4123,e-mail: repacholim@WHO.Int, Web: http://www.who.int/emf/), or Dipl.-ing. R Matthes, Scientific Secretary, ICNIRP, C/- Bundesamt fur Strahlenshutz, Institut fur Strahlenhygiene, Ingolstradter Landstrasse 1, D-85764 Oberschleissheim, Germany. (Tel: +49 89 31603288, Fax: +49 89 31603289, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
December 5-8, 1999. The Future of Risk Analysis in the 21st Century: Annual Meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis. Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Atlanta, Georgia USA. Contact: SRA, 1313 Dolley Madison Blvd., Suite 402, McLean, VA USA. (Tel: 703-790-1745, Fax: 703-790-2672, e-mail: SRA@BurkInc.com;http://www.sra.org).
April 2-6, 2000. Second World Congress on Microwave and Radio Frequency Processing. Renaissance Orlando Resort, Orlando, Florida USA. For Conference Information Contact: David E. Clark, University of Florida, Dept. of Mat. Sci. & Engrg., PO Box 116400, Gainesville, FL 32611-6400 USA (Tel: 352/392-7660, Fax: 352/846-2033, e-mail: email@example.com). For Technical Program Contact: Jon Binner, Brunel University, Dept. of Mat. Engrg., Uxbridge UBB 3PH, UK (Tel: 44-18-95-27-40-00, Fax: 44-18-95-81-26-36, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .uk). Managed by: The American Ceramic Society, 735 Ceramic Place, Westerville, OH 43081 USA (Fax: 614/794-5882, Web: http://www.acers.org/2WC).
April 9-14, 2000. Millennium Conference on Antennas and Propagation. Davos, Switzerland. Contact: ESTEC Conference Bureau, PO Box 299, 2200 AG Noordwijk, The Netherlands. (Tel: +31 71 5655005, Fax: +31 71 5655658, e-mail: email@example.com ,Web: http://www.estec.esa.nl/AP2000
June 9-16, 2000. Twenty-Second Annual Meeting of The Bioelectromagnetics Society. The University of Munich, Munich, Germany. Contact: W/L Associates, 7519 Ridge Road, Frederick, MD 21702-3519 USA. (Tel: 301-663-4252, Fax: 301-371-8955, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: http://www.bioelectromagnetics.org
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