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Do geomagnetic disturbances of solar origin affect arterial blood pressure?


Objective: Episodic reports suggest that geomagnetic disturbances of solar origin are associated with biological and clinical events, including increased arterial blood pressure (BP). We reassessed this aspect by relating solar activity levels to ambulatory BP measured in our out-patient population.

Patients and methods: The ambulatory BP measurements of 447 consecutive untreated patients attending a hypertension out-patient clinic who did a monitoring for diagnostic purposes over 5 years were retrieved. The mean daytime, night-time and 24-h BP and heart rate values were related to the temporally corresponding geomagnetic index k-sum obtained by the nearest observatory. K-sum is a local measurement of the irregular disturbances of the geomagnetic field caused by solar particle radiation.

Results: Significant to highly significant positive correlations were observed for k-sum with systolic (daytime and 24 h) and diastolic BP (daytime, night-time and 24 h), but not with heart rate. No correlations were found with the k-sum of 1 or 2 days before the monitorings. Multiple correlations which also included other potential confounding factors (date, age) confirmed a significant effect of k-sum on BP. Comparison made in season-matched subgroups of quiet and disturbed days (using three different criteria of definition), always showed significantly higher values in the disturbed days for all BP parameters except systolic night-time pressure. The difference between the quietest and the most disturbed days was of about 6 to 8 mm Hg for 24-h systolic and diastolic BP.

Conclusion: These results are unlikely to be due to unrelated secular trends, but seem to reflect a real relation between magnetic field disturbances and BP.

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Ghione, S., Mezzasalma, L., Seppia, C. et al. Do geomagnetic disturbances of solar origin affect arterial blood pressure?. J Hum Hypertens 12, 749–754 (1998).

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