User:OlavN/Robert O. Becker

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Robert O. Becker (May 31 1923May 14 2008) was a U.S. orthopedic surgeon and researcher in electrophysiology/electromedicine. He worked mainly as professor at Upstate Medical Center in State University of New York, Syracuse, and as Director of Orthopedic Surgery at the Veterans Administration Hospital, Syracuse, New York.

The official research history of the former states: “For his contributions, Robert O. Becker MD was awarded the Middleton Award in 1964 by the U.S. Veteran's Administration, the Nicholas Andry Award by the American Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons in 1979, and was twice nominated for the Nobel Prize.”

His research[edit]

Becker's research-related work was mainly research in electromedicine, within the two areas wound/fracture healing and regeneration of amputated limbs, supplemented with informing on electromagnetic pollution.

Bone fracture healing[edit]

Having observed in his clinical practice that broken bones sometimes failed to grow together, he set out to study experimentally why, and if external physical conditions could improve the growth. He found that a DC current through the broken bone (about 1 nanoampere) would greatly improve the growth and fusion of the bones. He was (for both fracture healing and regeneration) not concerned with the frequency aspect of the stimulation − in contrast to e.g. Royal Rife and Hulda Clark.

Regeneration of amputated limbs[edit]

During this work, Becker found it significant that lower animals had much better regeneration capabilities: Salamanders could regrow lost limbs, while frogs seemed to be a little too high on the evolutionary ladder to achieve this regeneration. He studied these animals for years in order to find out why evolution caused impaired regeneration capabilities, and whether electric fields or currents could stimulate regeneration. His experiments and theorizing could be regarded as a continuation of the similar work of Harold Saxton Burr. Becker thought, like Burr, that some sort of field encompassed the body, governing and stimulating regeneration. He found that an electrostatic field, negative away from the limb stump, could enable regeneration of a frog limb.[1]

Becker ascribed regeneration capability to the existence of a nucleus in the salamander's erythrocyte. (The mature erythrocytes of frogs and higher animals lacked nucleus.) Erythrocytes with nuclei seemed to have the dedifferentiation capability required for later differentiating into the various cell types needed in the growth area. Becker described these studies in his 1985 book The Body Electric (book), and also (condensed and compared with other fields) in the first part of his 1990 book Cross Currents.

Wound healing[edit]

His newest and most efficient regeneration/healing technique for humans is based on iontophoresis: Silver ions are pulled into the lesion area by means of a positive silver electrode placed upon the wound. This would create a regeneration-inducing blastema in human tissues that would else have atrophied. Becker patented this procedure in 1998, U.S. patent 70005556.

Other activities[edit]


Having discovered the physiological importance of electricity in the environment, Becker was deeply concerned with both the positive and negative effects of these influences[2]. This is evidenced by the subtitle of the book in which he described and discussed these influences: Cross Currents. The Promise of Electromedicine, the Perils of Electropollution.

Having worked as an expert member in committees examining various potentially electropolluting projects, Becker became involved in public debates. He advocated far stricter limits for permitted electromagnetic emissions, being in agreement with an EU parliament report: is most curious, to say the least, that the applicable official threshold values for limiting the health impact of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields and high frequency waves were drawn up and proposed to international political institutions (WHO, European Commission, governments) by the ICNIRP, an NGO whose origin and structure are none too clear and which is furthermore suspected of having rather close links with the industries whose expansion is shaped by recommendations for maximum threshold values for the different frequencies of electromagnetic fields.

—Report, Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs


This is in agreement with the much stricter safety limits established in eastern Europe. Becker asserted that the career and research finance problems he experienced in his later years were due to hostility from the electrical utility companies and the military, as he had sharply criticized the electropolluting activities of both.


Becker also published papers on parapsychology.[3][4] He believed that extrasensory perception could occur from extremely low frequency (ELF) waves.[5]


  1. ^ Mae-Wan Ho, Fritz Albert Popp, Ulrich Warnke Bioelectrodynamics and biocommunication 1994, p. 21
  2. ^ British Cell Phone Safety Alert and An Interview with Robert O. Becker, M. D
  3. ^ Becker, R. O. (1990). The relationship between bioelectromagnetics and psychic phenomena. ASPR Newsletter, XVI, 11–14.
  4. ^ Becker, R. O. (1992). Electromagnetism and psi phenomena. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 86, 1–17.
  5. ^ Harvey J. Irwin, Caroline Watt An Introduction to Parapsychology 2007, p. 125


  • US 5814094, Becker, Robert O; A Bartholomew Flick & Adam J Becker, "Iontopheretic system for stimulation of tissue healing and regeneration", published March 28, 1996, issued September 29, 1998 

Published works[edit]

As publisher
  • Mechanisms of Growth Control, edited by Robert O. Becker. Thomas, Springfield 1981, ISBN 0-398-04469-4

A PubMed search gives 91 listings for Becker RO. The listings below are those for which Becker is first author.

  • The electrical response of human skeletal muscle to passive stretch. BECKER RO. Surg Forum. 1960;10:828-31.
  • A modified coaxial electrode for electromyography. BECKER RO, CHAMBERLIN JT. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1960 Apr;41:149-51.
  • The bioelectric field pattern in the salamander and its simulation by an electronic analog. BECKER RO. IRE Trans Med Electron. 1960 Jul;ME-7:202-7.
  • The bioelectric factors in amphibian-limb regeneration. BECKER RO. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1961 Jul;43-A:643-56. No abstract available.
  • Search for Evidence of Axial Current Flow in Peripheral Nerves of Salamander. Becker RO. Science. 14 July 1961;134(3472):101-2.
  • The direct current control system. A link between environment and organism. BECKER RO, BACHMAN CH, FRIEDMAN H. N Y State J Med. 15 April 1962;62:1169-76.
  • Longitudinal direct-current gradients of spinal nerves. BECKER RO, BACHMAN CH, SLAUGHTER WH. Nature. 17 November 1962;196:675-6.
  • Relationship of geomagnetic environment to human biology. BECKER RO. N Y State J Med. 1 August 1963;63:2215-9.
  • Electron paramagnetic resonance in non-irradiated bone. BECKER RO. Nature. 28 September 1963;199:1304-5.
  • Photoelectric effects in human bone. Becker RO, Brown FM. Nature. 26 June 1965;206(991):1325-8.
  • Bioelectric effects in tissue. Becker RO, Bachman CH. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1965 Nov-Dec;43:251-3.
  • The control system governing bone growth in response to mechanical stress. Becker RO. J Ark Med Soc. 1966 Mar;62(10):404-6.
  • Electron paramagnetic resonance spectra of bone and its major components. Becker RO, Marino AA. Nature. 7 May 1966;210(5036):583-8.
  • A method for producing cellular dedifferentiation by means of very small electrical currents. Becker RO, Murray DG. Trans N Y Acad Sci. 1967 Mar;29(5):606-15.
  • The electrical control of growth processes. Becker RO. Med Times. 1967 Jun;95(6):657-69.
  • The trace elements of human bone. Becker RO, Spadaro JA, Berg EW. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1968 Mar;50(2):326-34
  • The electrical control system regulating fracture healing in amphibians. Becker RO, Murray DG. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1970 Nov-Dec;73:169-98
  • Stimulation of partial limb regeneration in rats. Becker RO. Nature. 14 January 1972;235(5333):109-11.
  • Augmentation of regenerative healing in man. A possible alternative to prosthetic implantation. Becker RO. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1972 Mar-Apr;83:255-62.
  • Electrical stimulation of partial limb regeneration in mammals. Becker RO, Spadaro JA. Bull N Y Acad Med. 1972 May;48(4):627-41.
  • The basic biological data transmission and control system influenced by electrical forces. Becker RO. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1974;238:236-41
  • Panel discussion: The role of electrical potential at the cellular level in growth and development. Becker RO, Cone CD, Jaffe LF, Parsegian VA, Pohl HA, Weiss L. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1974;238:451-6
  • Regeneration of the ventricular myocardium in amphibians. Becker RO, Chapin S, Sherry R. Nature. 8 March 1974;248(444):145-7.
  • The current status of electrically stimulated bone growth. Becker RO. ONA J. 1975 Feb;2(2):35-6
  • Clinical experiences with low intensity direct current stimulation of bone growth. Becker RO, Spadaro JA, Marino AA. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1977 May;(124):75-83.
  • Treatment of orthopaedic infections with electrically generated silver ions. A preliminary report. Becker RO, Spadaro JA. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1978 Oct;60(7):871-81.
  • Electrical osteogenesis—pro and con. Becker RO. Calcif Tissue Res. 8 December 1978;26(2):93-7.
  • The significance of electrically stimulated osteogenesis: more questions than answers. Becker RO. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1979 Jun;(141):266-74.
  • Electrostimulation and undetected malignant tumors. Becker RO, Esper C. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1981 Nov-Dec;(161):336-9
  • Electromagnetism and the revolution in medicine. Becker RO. Acupunct Electrother Res. 1987;12(1):75-9.
  • Silver ions in the treatment of local infections. Becker RO. Met Based Drugs. 1999;6(4-5):311-4.
  • Induced dedifferentiation: a possible alternative to embryonic stem cell transplants. Becker RO. NeuroRehabilitation. 2002;17(1):23-31.
  • Exploring new horizons in electromedicine. Becker RO. J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Feb;10(1):17-8.

Category:American medical researchers Category:American physicians Category:Bioelectromagnetic-based therapies Category:American scientists Category:1923 births Category:2008 deaths Category:State University of New York faculty Category:Orthopedic surgeons