London: Magnets may soon replace aspirins often given to people at risk of heart attacks to thin their blood, scientists have claimed.
Researchers at Temple University in Michigan found that a device that uses a magnetic field to thin fuel, can have the same effect on human blood.
They discovered that exposure to a magnetic field thins human blood, stopping it from damaging blood vessels and increasing the risk of heart attack, the Daily Mail reported.
If this effect holds for blood in veins and arteries, scientists might someday develop a magnetic alternative to medicines designed to keep blood flowing in humans, said lead researcher Professor Rongjia Tao.
Because red blood cells contain iron, Tao has been able to reduce a person`s blood viscosity (resistance to flow) by 20-30 per cent by subjecting it to a magnetic field for about one minute. The field measured 1.3 Telsa which is about the same as an MRI machine.
After testing numerous blood samples in a laboratory, Tao found that the magnetic field polarises the red blood cells causing them to link together in short chains, streamlining the movement of the blood.
As these chains are larger than the single blood cells, they flow down the centre, reducing the friction against the walls of the blood vessels.
The combined effects reduce the viscosity of the blood, helping it to flow more freely.
When the magnetic field was taken away, the blood`s original viscosity state slowly returned over a period of several hours.
"By selecting a suitable magnetic field strength and pulse duration, we will be able to control the size of the aggregated red-cell chains, hence to control the blood`s viscosity," said Tao.