Book review of

Cross Currents — The Perils of Electropollution —
The Promise of Electromedicine


by Robert O. Becker, M.D.

Reviewed by Andrew Eriksen


This is a classic text about how electromagnetic fields and electricity affect the human body.  The author has all the credentials one could ask for.  He is a full professor at State University of New York, and has spent decades researching the electrical systems of the body.


Dr. Becker is one of the very first researchers who looked into whether life is dependent on electrical systems, and he has found that it is.  He takes us on a grand tour of the first experiments on laboratory animals that showed DC electricity to be a controlling factor in healing wounds (this research is detailed in his earlier book The Body Electric), and continues through decades of work by himself and other like-minded researchers.


There are many “aha!” experiences waiting in this book, as Dr. Becker gives us an electric tour of living beings, while keeping his feet rooted in what is known.  And what is known is quite a bit.


He later does some educated guesses on how things like homeopathy work, and how a healer can detect illness in a person.  His guesses about homeopathy have more recently been partially confirmed by Dr. Masaru Emoto in his book The Hidden Messages in Water.  As for his guesses about healers, nobody has been willing to test the idea, which is similar to how an MRI-scanner works, just much cruder.  But, to test the hypothesis, nobody has been willing to loan him the expensive piece of equipment required.


He also mentions electrical sensitivity, but is at a loss to even guess how that works, other than that the nervous system and immune system seem involved.


Dr. Becker’s research shows that exposures to EMF causes stress on the body’s immune system.  As the immune system becomes exhausted, it starts to malfunction.  This could explain the rapid rise in allergies and immune disorders in the last few decades, where we have been bombarded with ever-increasing radiation from transmission towers and electronic gadgets.


Research has also shown that EMF make some cancer cells grow faster.  That doesn’t mean that EMF causes cancer, but it makes it more possible for cancer cells to overwhelm the body’s immune system.  The types of cancer that continue to rise are the same types that would be helped by such a growth stimulation, such as brain tumors and leukemia.


These discoveries are critically important, but are not being pursued, even today.  Why?  Dr. Becker has some suggestions here, too.  Beyond the herd mentality in medical research, there are also very strong interests in keeping a lid on this information.  One of these interests is the military, which by invoking national security, has actively suppressed this kind of information, and funded studies that were rigged to “prove” that EMF is harmless.  Researchers who didn’t get the message were actively discredited, denied access to being published and their research grants disappeared, according to Dr. Becker.  He has first-hand experience with these matters, both as an expert witness to several commissions, and when he was driven away from his research position at a VA hospital (the story is detailed in The Body Electric).


The book was published in 1990, but is still highly relevant today.  It is actually astounding how much was discovered in the laboratories as early as 1960 — and equally astounding that most physicians still dismiss the whole concept, even today.


With the knowledge that was already there in 1990, it is utterly amazing that the cell-phone revolution took place during the 1990s, but there it is.  It does put some new light on the fact that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has a provision that bans opposition to the citing of cell-towers based on health concerns.  They already knew.


Dr. Becker tells several stories about how narrow-minded physicians and other researchers can be.  One example is a biologist who was trying to figure out how a salamander can find its way back to its place of birth.  When he could not, Dr. Becker suggested he try and see if the salamander has a magnetic sense.  The biologist responded that he would rather give the problem to the university chaplain than try such a crazy idea.  Dr. Becker then looked into it himself, and found that the salamander actually has two magnetic senses.


It seems that if the computer industry did research the way it is done in medicine, we would still be using vacuum tube computers, which only corporations could afford.  The vacuum tubes would be much enhanced over what was used decades ago, but only fringe doctors would have switched over to use transistors.  Of course, unlike medicine, the computer industry is full of renegades.


Cross Currents is lively written and refreshingly free of medical jargon.  Anyone who can read Scientific American should have no problem with it.  This is the kind of book I would give to a skeptical person, who would actually be willing to look into the subject with an open mind (such people do exist).  This book is believable and not shrill or preachy.