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An invention made by accident

Dr. Glen Gordon of Sequim (formerly of Silverdale) plans to prove his heart-healthy “pulse” technology with a bike ride to his home state of Ohio. A hereditary heart defect sidelined him for years — until he discovered electromagnetic pulse devices. - Photo by Kelly Everett
Dr. Glen Gordon of Sequim (formerly of Silverdale) plans to prove his heart-healthy “pulse” technology with a bike ride to his home state of Ohio. A hereditary heart defect sidelined him for years — until he discovered electromagnetic pulse devices.
— image credit: Photo by Kelly Everett

When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, you’d think the first message would be something impressive, such as “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” (vis-a-vis the moon landing).

But no, clumsy Bell dumped a chemical flask all over the place, and called out: “Come here Watson, I need you ...”

Watson, his assistant, was in another room and couldn’t hear Bell except through his ear piece.

Eureka.

Well, the same sort of thing has happened with Silverdale’s Dr. Glen Gordon. He’s a sports medicine specialist who’d been trying for 22 years to convince the FDA that a field of pulsed electromagnetic radiation can facilitate the healing of soft-tissue injuries, such as sprains and pulled muscles, by stimulating the growth of capillaries.

The procedure is not illegal, so he continued to use it in his practice. But he never won the coveted FDA imprimatur.

Earlier in his life, the doctor had a busy career as a general practice (GP) physician and he was one of the originators of Whaling Days. At age 38, he suffered a major heart attack that nearly killed him.

“It came as no surprise,” he said. “It’s hereditary. No man in my family has made it past 60. Bad hearts are expected.”

He had to quit as GP — it was too strenuous — and took up sports medicine instead. A much more relaxed and regular schedule.

He discovered early on that the then-suitcase sized pulsed-field generators, used in sports medicine in Russia since the 1970s, was working wonders on his own cases. For two decades his life ran on two tracks: trying to get pulsed-field medicine accepted in the west, and struggling as his heart condition grew worse and worse: bypasses, “shints,” other surgery, herbs, special diets and exercise.

One day he was told he’d better get on a heart-donor list.

Eureka ... Why not try his pulsed-field device on his own doomed heart?

“I started three years ago,” he said, pulling the now-miniaturized device out of his shirt pocket. It was about the size of a small cell phone. “I simply wore it in my pocket, close to my heart, or absent-mindedly rubbed it across my chest as I sat watching TV in the evenings.”

First year, no change. He still suffered angina pain with even short walks, and could do nothing else. Second year, he felt a little better.

“But it was the third year that made the difference,” he said. “Suddenly I could walk as much as I wanted. I got out my old bike and started riding again.

“I’ve felt better and better since.”

His theory is not original. Others have noticed both the benefits and detrimental effects of pulsed radiation. Scientists measuring such radiation from large power lines have noticed plants growong under the lines had slower growth rates. Meanwhile, the public had become increasingly concerned about the same radiation being emitted next to their heads as they used their cell phones. Scientists have gone public with the potential harm of cell phones.

But Doc Gordon’s gadget uses low-power, precisely pulsed, electromagnetic radiation.

The fields from power lines are a thousand times too powerful. It’s like any other bell curve — too little and you get no benefits, too much and you get hurt. The desired effect is in the middle.

“It’s an inexpensive technology that was unusually effective and free of side effects. I’ve found it can treat stroke, heart attack, arthritis, heart defibrillation ... You’d think our government would be anxious to see it made available to the people. Why then, is the U.S. the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn’t make it available to their citizens?”

The evidence may still be considered anecdotal — that is, not backed by rigid experimental controls. But for 22 years, Dr. Gordon conducted research and treated over 20,000 patients with this technology.

His research was approved by review committees at the UW and Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma, he added. Canada employs it widely, but its use is extremely limited in the US.

It’s legal — but hard to find physicians who’ll prescribe it.

He said Congress pulled rank on the FDA and passed legislation in 1997 (The Food and Drug Modernization Act) that legalized “off label” sales of such devices and other technologies.

Gordon, who now lives in Sequim, will start his ride Sept. 5. At about 30 miles a day (after all, he is now in his early 60s) he estimates the ride to Ohio will take about 55 days. His wife will follow in the car. They’ll drive back together. Dr. Gordon, who no longer has a regular practice, can be reached at (360) 797-7970.

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