It seems like just yesterday we were discussing the real world potential of supervillain Magneto’s powers. Now, we’ve spotted a new use for Magneto’s magnetic field control: thinning blood. Two researchers, Rongjia Tao and Ke Huang, recently released the results of their study on the effects of magnetic fields applied to the bloodstream.

In the study, Tao and Huang exposed blood samples to varying magnetic field pulse strengths for varying lengths of time. The results found a magnetic field pulse of 1.3 Tesla, applied for one minute in the parallel blood flow direction, reduced blood viscosity by 20-30%. After this procedure, the blood viscosity slowly returned to normal after a couple of hours. 

Aggregated red-cell clusters have a streamlined shape, leading to further viscosity reduction.

Since Magneto is able to control magnetic fields, it’s likely his powers could extend to the process Tao and Huang studied. Magneto could apply a magnetic field to someone’s bloodstream, which would thin the blood. Except Magneto would be helping the person, not hurting them. The study’s findings have a high potential for physical therapy and, as you might know, supervillain Magneto isn’t too concerned with being a physical therapist.

After a strong magnetic field of 1.33T was applied for 12 minutes, the red blood cell aggregated to form long cluster-chains.But wait! The study gives a glimpse of how Magneto could use his magnetic fields to harm the bloodstream. Magnetic fields reduce blood viscosity by aggregating red cells along the field direction, forming short, streamlined chains. But when a strong magnetic field was applied for 12 minutes, the red cells formed a long, thick chain. What happens past the 12 minute mark is a mystery – the study doesn’t report this information – but adding in some fiction to Magneto’s science, it’s possible Magneto could apply a strong magnetic field to a victim for a long period of time, slowly creating thick clusters of red cells and impeding blood flow. Basically, Magneto could use his powers to slowly torture anyone – no iron injection from Mystique required.

Image & caption credits: Rongjia Tao and Ke Huang, Temple University

 

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This article offers a new perspective on the Magneto character. I recall the character previously putting at least one other "to sleep" by altering the iron levels in the other's blood, but that was a bit of a scientific stretch. It would be good to see one of the books' writers employ your research in a future story--- having Magneto assist at least one patient that could benefit from this treatment--- and showing that these stories aren't restricted to the use of characters with generic healing powers.

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