The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2003—what are the
implications of these new discoveries for BICOM therapy
By: Dipl. Ing. Dr. techn. Horst Felsch, Chemist,
Two American researchers received the Nobel Prize for
chemistry in October 2003:
• Peter Agre of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore for
discovering water channels in the cell wall, and
• Roderick MacKinnon of Rockefeller University in New York
for structural and mechanistic studies of potassium ion
The Royal Swedish Academy of Science praised Peter Agre’s
“This decisive discovery opened the door to a whole series
of biochemical, physiological and genetic studies of water
channels in bacteria, plants and mammals. Today
researchers can follow in detail a water molecule on its
way through the cell membrane and understand why only
water, not other small molecules, can pass.”
Fig. 1 Roderick MacKinnon
Fig. 2 Roderick MacKinnon was awarded the Nobel Prize for
his work on the way potassium ion channels work. These ion
channels are structured differently from the water
channels discovered by Peter Agre.
A Nobel Prize had already been awarded in this field back
in 1909 to Wilhelm Ostwald who suspected as early as 1890
that signals measured in tissues were a clue that ions
were transported in the cell membrane.
A further Nobel Prize received by two British doctors in
1964 indicates the significance of this area of research.
They were able to furnish proof of ionic flow in nerve
However, it was not until 1988 that the spatial structure
of ion channels was portrayed in three dimensions by
François Diederich, head of the Department of Chemistry
and Applied Biosciences at the respected Swiss Federal
Institute of Technology aptly expressed how far-reaching
and revolutionary these discoveries are when he declared:
“Roderick MacKinnon has amazed the entire scientific
community with his work!”
THE CELL MEMBRANE AS A PROTECTIVE LAYER AROUND THE CELLS
Fig. 3 Cross-section through a human cell
Our bodies consist of millions of tiny cells. Although
these cells may differ considerably in their function and
structure, they have one thing in common: their contents
are protected by an extremely effective weapon, the cell
membrane’s so-called double lipid layer.
Fig. 4 Diagram of the cell membrane with its double lipid
Proteins with different functions are integrated in the
What is this?
To put it simply, each cell is surrounded by a paper-thin
fatty layer, 7 – 10 nm thick (1 nm = nanometre is one
millionth of a millimetre).
The proportion made up by this fatty layer varies
according to the cell’s function: for example, the cell
membrane of the human blood cell contains 43% lipids. In
nerve cells it is as much as 76%. Mitochondria, which are
responsible for intracellular energy metabolism and
consequently have a particularly important role to play,
even protect themselves with two membranes, the cell
membrane and the mitochondrial membrane which is only 24%
It can be concluded from this that the higher the
proportion of fat in the cell membrane, the better
protected the cell.
Yet, despite its fatty layer, this cell membrane cannot be
completely impermeable as the cell needs to be nourished
and supplied. For this, substances have to be exchanged
through this membrane.
The concentration of sodium and potassium ions must also
be kept in balance so that the necessary membrane
potential, and consequently the functioning of the cell,
can be maintained.
WHAT ARE ION CHANNELS?
How can water or particles dissolved in water (ions) pass
through a water-repellent fatty layer into the interior of
A physiology textbook explained back in 1980 that water is
transported into the intracellular space by osmotic
This assumption does not explain, however, why water
molecules penetrate the interior of the cell
extraordinarily quickly. Measurements taken in the 1950s
revealed that 2 billion water molecules were carried per
second and channel and, based on the size of the channel,
water molecule flow rate was calculated at 5 metres per
It is impossible to achieve speeds such as this purely
through osmotic processes and they are also inconceivable
from an energetic point of view.
It was already being postulated back in the mid 19th
century that the membrane shell must contain openings for
substances to be exchanged.
In the early 1980s Peter Agre was investigating water
transport mechanisms in red blood cells and in 1988
isolated a previously unknown protein which is responsible
for this transport: Aquaporin AQP.
Amongst other things, this aquaporin regulates the water
balance in the kidneys, the red blood cells, the eye lens
and the brain.
Dysfunction leads to diabetes, grey cataracts and
neuronally induced loss of hearing.
It is obvious from the microscopic size of these water
channels why they could not be detected with normal light
microscopes: the diameter measures around 0.3 millionth of
a millimetre = 0.3 nm, the length 1 millionth of a
millimetre = 1 nm.
High-resolution electron microscopes were needed to make
such small dimensions visible.
Fig. 5 Water channel in the cell membrane. The individual
water molecules are guided through at high speed helped by
the aquaporin protein strand (depicted as a spiral).
NEW WAYS OF THINKING AND NUMEROUS QUESTIONS
A channel intended for transporting water inside the cell
measures 0.3 nm in diameter. The tetrahedron-shaped water
molecule also has a diameter of just under 0.3 nm. In
other words: only individual water molecules can pass
along this channel, but no water clusters!
Fig. 6 At a wave number of 3,400 cm–1, the infrared
spectrum of liquid water displays a broad OH band caused
by the hydrogen bridge-type bonds of the water cluster.
This fact has caused the thinking behind water research to
be revised and has also thrown up a number of questions.
As a dipole, the water molecule forms hydrogen bridge-type
bonds and combines with other water molecules to form a
This idea is correct and is also confirmed by pictures of
liquid water taken using infrared spectral photometry.
If only single molecules can pass through a water channel,
does this water cluster have to be re-formed into
individual molecules before being transported through the
The answer is clear: yes.
This immediately leads to further questions.
Is the information conveyed by the water actually stored
in the special structure of the water cluster? –
homeopathy confirms this.
Is this information lost when the cluster is broken up at
the surface of the cell and is the original information
available again after the molecules are transported
individually through the water channel into the interior
of the cell?
This new knowledge has also changed some of my thinking
In May 2003 (in other words, before the announcement of
the Nobel Prize for chemistry) I wrote the following with
regard to ion channels on page 7 of the proceedings to the
43rd Congress for BICOM users:
We know that the cell membrane does not allow any ions to
pass through its double lipid layer. This would consume
too much energy. To allow ions to be transported
passively, cell membranes have so-called ion channels for
sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and chloride ions.
These ion channels are a specific size and also selective,
i.e. they allow only the named ions together with their
hydration sheaths through.
According to the research results of the two Nobel Prize
winners, both the water channels and the ion channels are
too narrow to allow whole water clusters or ions together
with their hydration sheaths to pass through. Only
individual molecules (e.g. water) or ions without
hydration sheaths are transported.
I shall deal with the resulting new knowledge on
information transfer through the water channels a little
later in the text.
THE HIGH SELCTIVITY OF ION CHANNELS
First to Roderick MacKinnon.
It is fascinating to read in his publication how he
demonstrated the high selectivity of ion channels through
the example of the potassium ion channel.
Fig. 7 A potassium ion channel
At the point of entry (A) the potassium ion is still
hydrated with water molecules. These are cast off so that
the ion migrates “naked” through the selective channel.
Spiral-shaped proteins take care of transport. Shortly
afterwards hydration occurs again. A locking mechanism
ensures the necessary membrane potential.
Thus the much smaller sodium ion, for example, is not
transported through this channel.
The larger potassium ion, on the other hand, is carried
virtually “by hand” though this channel.
These “hands” are polarised oxygen atoms, also present in
the hydration sheath of the potassium ion.
ONE ATTEMPTED SOLUTION
If a sodium salt (e.g. sodium chloride, NaCl) is dissolved
in water, the polarised water molecules penetrate the
lattice structure of the solid salt and break up the
lattice bonds to the sodium and chloride. Positively
charged sodium ions and negatively charged chloride ions
are formed as a result.
The next step is the hydration of the two ions. The
negatively charged oxygen atoms in the water molecules
dock with the surface of the sodium ion and form a
sodium-specific hydration sheath through hydrogen
bridge-type bonds. This sheath contains the information:
“I am a sodium ion.”
A similar thing happens with the chloride ion. As it is
negatively charged, the positively charged hydrogen atoms
in the water molecule dock with its surface, likewise
forming a chloride-specific hydration sheath.
This hydration process produces a gain in energy and is
also consequently completed fully at great speed by the
BACK TO SELECTIVITY
How does a hydrated potassium ion differ from a sodium ion
which is also hydrated?
The differences in size which were discussed earlier are
not a selectivity criterion for the ion channels!
What is then?
It is the number of docking points for water molecules on
the surface of the ions.
Let me explain.
The hydration number of an ion indicates how many water
molecules can dock with its surface. For the potassium ion
it is 4, for the sodium ion it is 8 molecules, so a marked
Now to the details.
With the potassium ion, therefore, up to 4 water molecules
can adhere to the surface through the negatively charged
oxygen atom, i.e. there are 4 adhesion points. The
coherence between ion and oxygen atom occurs through
so-called van der Waals forces.
If these 4 water molecules have attached themselves to the
potassium ion, the potassium-specific water cluster can be
built up through hydrogen bridge-type bonds.
What is new about this knowledge is the all important
adhesion points – in other words, the foundations on which
the cluster structure develops. In the past it had been
assumed that the specificity of the information lay in the
actual cluster. Now it is known that it comes from the
Fig. 8 Detailed illustration of potassium
4 water molecules dock with the potassium ion to build up
the hydration sheath (top picture). In the potassium ion
channel these 4 bonding arms are also formed by oxygen
atoms (bottom picture) which are bonded with proteins
however. This prevents information being lost and ensures
And now it gets interesting.
These four docking points on the surface of the potassium
ion are also found in the potassium ion channel. As the
potassium ion with its huge water cluster is too large for
the specific potassium ion channel, the water cluster is
cast off at the surface of the cell.
In the ion channel itself there are also negatively
charged oxygen atoms (bound to channel protein) which grab
onto the four docking points which are free now that the
water cluster has been cast off. The potassium ion is
identified and actively transported at great speed through
the potassium channel – as if carried by hand.
In contrast, the sodium ion needs 8 “arms” to be
transported through the ion channel (hydration number 8).
However, the large potassium channel can only provide 4
arms, i.e. it is 4 arms short. The potassium channel
consequently realises: you aren’t a potassium ion.
Therefore the hydrated sodium ion cannot cast off its
hydration sheath and also cannot migrate through the
potassium channel since, with its hydration sheath, it is
far too large.
It is important to answer one more question, however.
If the potassium ion casts off its hydration sheath
because it is too large to pass through the potassium ion
channel, an energy source must make this process possible.
Just to recap: energy is gained in hydration. This is
needed again when the water sheath is cast off!
Roderick MacKinnon was able to demonstrate, however, that
casting off the hydration sheath and the “naked” potassium
ion docking with the four oxygen contact points in the ion
channel does not produce energy flow.
Once the potassium ion has passed through the ion channel,
it is immediately hydrated inside the cell and reverts to
the original state it was in outside the cell.
WHAT IMPORTANT INFORMATION CAN BE GLEANED FOR BIORESONANCE
THERAPY FROM THIS NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING KNOWLEDGE?
The specific information e.g. “I am a potassium ion” comes
from the docking points on the surface of an ion. These
docking points are also the basis for the ion-specific
structure of the hydration sheath which forms around all
So this specific information is not found somewhere in the
middle of the huge hydration sheath which envelops an ion;
it comes from a design which all ions carry on their
The docking points on the water molecule are the
foundations of this design. Consequently the remainder of
the hydration sheath structure is already pre-determined
architecturally – or to be more accurate – in its
In the past it was believed that, when an ion lost its
hydration sheath, ion-specific information was lost with
It is now known that an ion can cast off its hydration
sheath without losing information if the docking points on
the ion surface are taken over by negatively charged
oxygen atoms sitting on the surface of a protein molecule,
Where pure water is transported through the water channels
this protein is called aquaporin.
These new discoveries have also improved understanding of
the efficacy of homeopathically diluted substances.
If the central ion is no longer present in high dilutions,
the energy introduced with the potentisation movement
ensures that the former adhesion points of the negatively
charged oxygen atom on the ion surface remain structurally
intact. Consequently the design of the hydration sheath
and also the information stored within it remains
While, in the past, it was believed that the ion’s
specific information was contained in its water cluster
and this was therefore the actual information centre for
the cell, this can now be expressed more accurately. The
information centre is the docking points of the hydration
sheath on the surface of the ion.
In the past it was believed that a hydrated ion
transferred its information to the cell by feeling the
external structure of the hydration sheath all over.
It is now known that the ion casts off this hydration
sheath completely, i.e. the entire hydrate structure is
torn down to the ground. The water cluster’s docking
points on the ion surface are thus the actual information
code which the ion does not lose even when it migrates
through the ion channels.
The 2003 Nobel Prize winners for chemistry have shown us
how water and ions are specifically transported through
the cell membrane.
This transporting of substances is vitally important for
the cell’s functioning. Membrane potential is built up
through ion transport. This, in turn, is a requirement of
the cell’s excitability and thus for it to function.
Isn’t it fascinating that millions of cells work together
smoothly in a healthy body. But how do they exchange
Prof. Popp drew a highly memorable comparison here: cells
are like tuning forks. Perfect harmony results in a
healthy body. Diseased cells lead to dissonance and upset
receives the “full concert” created by the oscillating
cells via the input electrode. The BICOM device is able to
filter out dissonance, strengthen the “chorus of healthy
cells” and return it to the body. In this way the diseased
cells receive the energy they need to oscillate
Back in 1931 GEORGES LAKHOVSKY spoke of the cells’
Peter Agre and Roderick MacKinnon’s work shows in an
impressive fashion how information is built up in the body
and how it is passed on without loss of energy. Unimpeded
information flow is obviously extremely important to the
If this is the case, then the question of why cellular
information is so little used in therapy is totally
In his book “Wasser und Information” [Water and
information] which appeared in 1993, Prof. Hans Leopold of
the Institute for Electronics at Graz Technical University
stated the following:
“Intervention is more skilled and thus more targeted,
firstly if the code is known and secondly if an
information intersection is found through which
information from outside can be brought into the living
system. [Note: The two Nobel Prize winners deciphered
this!] In my opinion, these two aspects I have just
mentioned are very important for new (or old rediscovered)
methods in medicine.”
Bioresonance therapy uses information from the body as a
therapeutic approach. It therefore pursues “new methods of
great importance in medicine.”
The scientific discoveries of the two Nobel Prize winners
confirm that metabolic processes are always linked with
the transmission of information. Therefore, conversely, it
must also be possible to restore balance to impaired
metabolic processes by transmitting the “correct”
BICOM resonance therapy has been confirming this for over
twenty years through countless cases of successful
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