The Science of Magnets and Resveratrol

Last night I read Newsweek’s latest issue, that included two stories about health. The first was about using magnets to cure depression. While this is still in the testing stage, many people have said that after having a plastic wand embedded with powerful magnets waved over parts of their skull, they began to feel less depressed. The wand, with two circles and a handle, stimulates the brain with electric current, causing neurons in the targeted region to fire and release neurotransmitters, and activating a circuit. It appears that these magnetic pulses reaching about one inch into the brain both increase and decrease blood flow in certain areas that control different functions.

The second story was about tests on mice for longevity. The key here is the chemical resveratrol, a compound found in red-wine grapes. When they gave one mouse a standard diet, a second mouse a high fat, high calorie diet, and the third mouse high calories, high fat and resveratrol, here is what happened. The second mouse died younger, but the third mouse got just as fat yet stayed as healthy as the lean mice.

You’d have to drink 1000 glasses of red wine to get enough of this wonder drug to make an impact—and so far no one has found resveratrol pills that work. Still this is quite compelling, and again and again I conclude that the less calories you eat when you’re old, the longer you will live. Some day I’m gonna do this, eat like a tiny bird.