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We investigated the effects of strong static magnetic fields on the convectional flow in a cell culture medium and their consequences on cell adhesion patterns. Gradient magnetic fields of 6 T with 60 T/m affected the convection with floating cell aggregations in a cell culture flask, and reversibly changed the direction of convectional flow. HeLa cells exhibited streamlike-cell distribution patterns in the direction of the applied magnetic field gradient. The study also revealed a promotion of cell orientation by a thermal convectional flow in the medium after magnetic field exposure of MC3T3 cells at 8 T for one day. An application of gradient magnetic fields for the treatment of cell adhesion was proposed using a magnetically modulated convectional flow. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.