Robert Otto Becker (May 31, 1923–May 14, 2008) was a U.S. orthopedic surgeon who is best known for his research in biocybernetics. He spent his entire career at the Veterans Administration Hospital, Syracuse, New York, where he served as chief of orthopedic surgery, chief of research, and head of a research laboratory devoted to studying the role of bioelectrical phenomena in growth and healing, tissue regeneration, infection control, and the health impact of artificial environmental electromagnetic energy.

Biocybernetics and researching the role of bioelectrical phenomena in growth and healing, tissue regeneration, infection control, and the health impact of artificial environmental electromagnetic energy.

Dr. Robert O. Becker believed that the currents flowing in the neural-based biocybernetic control system were electronic not ionic, and since the system involved instantaneous communications between distant points within the nervous system, he reasoned that the flow must occur by means of semiconduction. He confirmed that bone responded electrically to mechanical stress, and hypothesized that regeneration of bone occurred as a result of internal electrical forces and electron currents, much as other healing and growth was controlled. These ideas served as the rationale for detailed studies of how semiconduction, electromechanical forces, and bone growth were related, and as the basis for his proposed negative-feedback system for controlling bone growth.

The existence of an electron conduction band was supported by studies using the techniques of electron paramagnetic resonance and photoconductivity, which allowed demonstration of mobile electrons in bone; flame spectroscopy, which allowed detection of trace elements in bone that could account for the origin of the mobile charge carriers; and dielectric dispersion, which allowed detection of the water molecules that could account for the ability of charge carriers to enter the conduction band. Becker showed that electromechanical signals in bone originated as a result of the piezoelectric effect manifested by the collagen matrix of bone, and that the signals were probably directly related to bone growth.

An important implication of Becker’s work on semiconduction is the suggestion that the origin of life might have been in a solid rather than in water.

In the early 1970s, influenced by McLean and Urist’s admonition that “more reliance should be placed upon the primordial power of the human skeleton to regenerate injured and missing substance,” Becker explored the clinical implications of the electrical control system with regard to stimulating regenerative healing in man. He viewed the approach as a possible alternative to prosthetic implantation, which was then undergoing rapid expansion in use in orthopedic surgery. His approach to the use of electromagnetic energy for the promotion of healing differed markedly from that of other prominent orthopedists, who he felt were using levels of electrical energy in clinical treatment that had not been tested sufficiently in laboratory and animal studies and might be too high for purposes of safety and effectiveness.

Using currents far smaller than those employed by other orthopedists who were using electrical methods, he conducted laboratory experiments to evaluate both the mechanism of action and the effectiveness of the technique for particular applications, especially osteomyelitis. In subsequent clinical applications he developed the use of anti-infective silver electrodes to improve the healing process, and described his clinical technique in a textbook. He remained concerned that the potential side-effect of the clinical use of electromagnetic energy had not been studied sufficiently.

Today I was looking into bone growth with ancient methods and a friend told me to look up Dr. Robert O. Becker as he was a pioneer in working with silver paper to support bone growth, anti-inflammation and he had great articles and paper written  ( He also articulated his views later in life in four books. In Electromagnetism and Life, published in 1982, he argued that exposure to artificial environmental electromagnetic energy was a general biologic stressor and can produce functional changes in biological systems. Mechanisms of Growth Control, published in 1981, was the proceedings of an international conference on regeneration that he organized. Writing for a general audience in The Body Electric in 1985 and Cross Currents in 1990, Becker summarized his research and his views on science and medicine in historical perspective.

He patented a cell-modification process in which cells were dedifferentiated by ions from electrically positive silver electrodes; the modified cells were said to be capable of regenerating organs and tissues. An FDA-approved clinical study of his method was sponsored by the Sybron Corporation at the LSU Medical School in Shreveport to study the safety and efficacy of the method for treating osteomyelitis, but the Sybron product was not brought to market.

one of his book in amazon:

The Body Electric: Electromagnetism And The Foundation Of Life Paperback

July 22, 1998

body electric