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Dr. Frank Prato

Dr. Frank Prato Ph. D., FCCPM, ABMP

  1. Heart disease, secondary to blood starvation of heart muscle, causes a greater number of deaths and disabilities than any other single disease. Over the last decade new treatment methods have reduced the mortality and morbidity of heart disease and over the next decade further new therapies will emerge. Each new treatment often calls for new imaging methods. The co-dependence of new therapies with new cardiac imaging methods calls for cardiac research laboratories to have diverse multi-disciplinary facilities. My medical biophysics laboratory has both a biological and imaging physics infrastructure. On the one hand we have a record of developing new imaging methods in MRI, MRS, Nuclear Medicine SPECT and PET, X-ray CT and Ultra Sound. On the other hand we ensure the relevance of these imaging methods by testing them in animal models of human heart disease before we implement them in patients. With the advent of new therapies such as regenerated stem cell therapy we are presently recruiting graduate students and post-doctoral fellows with diverse backgrounds ranging from theoretical physics to stem-cell biology to work with a team including cardiologists, medical physicists and surgeons. If you can work hard towards a vision to help realize new gains in the battle against heart disease then consider training in one of the best laboratories in the world right here in Canada.

  2. Occasionally we get an opportunity to investigate phenomena at the limits of scientific knowledge in non-mainstream science. The opportunity to make seminal scientific discoveries often eludes us because they cannot be assured in grant proposals to peer review agencies. It has been a scientific convenience for more than 25 years to assume that weak extremely low frequency magnetic fields cannot elicit biological effects; that chronic exposure to magnetic fields from power lines cannot induce childhood leukemia; that pulsed weak magnetic fields cannot affect the opioid system and pain perception. Such scientific bias is now in question because a handful of dedicated scientists are willing to withstand the criticism of peers and investigate phenomena in areas of science for which the biophysical understanding lags behind unexpected observation.

    Here at the Lawson Health Research Institute, a modest scientific effort over the last 25 years has demonstrated surprising physiological and behavioural responses in animals and humans as a result of exposure to pulsed magnetic fields. These fields are considered weak. The magnetic field intensity is similar to the earth's geomagnetic field and frequencies are similar to those from electrical power distribution and use. These discoveries which are protected by patents (e.g. US 6,234,953 B1) include methods by which pain perception can selectively be increased or decreased and findings that will have a significant future impact on management of patients with mental health/neurological diseases and those suffering from chronic pain. We at UWO are considered world leaders in this area of bioelectromagnetics.

    If you wish to be part of an interdisciplinary team helping to develop effective complimentary alternative medicine approaches to the treatment of pain through the discovery of biophysical mechanisms and if you have courage to study in a controversial area of science then a graduate student position or post-doctoral fellowship in Bioelectromagnetics may be for you.

  3. Brief Description: I am addressing the following two personal "holy grails" in my research program.

    1. Improve treatment of Heart Disease through better diagnostic imaging.
    2. Treat Pain, Anxiety and Depression with Magnetic Fields.