Pineal Function in Mammals and Birds is Altered by Earth-Strength Magnetic Fields

  • Peter Semm
Part of the Circadian Factors in Human Health and Performance book series (CFHH)


The discovery of the magnetic sensitivity of the mammalian pineal gland (electrophysiology: Semm et al., 1980; biochemistry: Welker et al., 1983) initiated for the first time the possibility of measuring influences of the magnetic environment in the central nervous system. We found this remarkable property of the pineal gland during a research program dealing with electrophysiological characteristics of mammalian pinealocytes. However, we were mainly interested in the physiological basis of the magnetic compass in migrating and homing animals. After it became clear that the pineal is not directly involved in magnetic compass orientation (Maffei et al., 1983; Semm et al., 1987), we used the magnetic sensitivity of the gland as a tool for finding other nerve cells that might be involved in magnetic orientation (Beason and Semm, 1987; Semm et al., 1984; Semm and Demaine, 1986).


Pineal Gland Magnetic Storm Pineal Organ Magnetic Compass Melatonin Synthesis 
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© Birkhäuser Boston 1992

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  • Peter Semm

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