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Search for correlation between geomagnetic disturbances and mortality


IT is generally accepted that the Sun affects the Earth's magneto-sphere and ionosphere by variations in the ultraviolet and X-ray radiation and in the solar wind due both to short lived disturbances such as flares1 and to long lived effects such as that associated with the ‘sector structure’ of the interplanetary magnetic field2. There have, however, been repeated claims3,4 for well over a century that the Sun influences many other processes on Earth, including terrestrial weather and human disorders. Friedman, Becker and Bachman5–7 have presented evidence for an association between geomagnetic storms, cosmic-ray flux variations and psychological behaviour. The term geomagnetic storm is used for worldwide fluctuations in the Earth's field with a scale of about 100γ over a period of several hours, caused by the impact of a solar plasma front on the magnetosphere. A number of Russian scientists8–10 have claimed that there is a real association between geomagnetic storms and the incidence of various human diseases. Within this general area, one of the most active areas of current research seems to be the correlation of solar activity and myocardial infarction and stroke. We have searched for a similar correlation in the USA but have failed to find one.

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LIPA, B., STURROCK, P. & ROGOT, E. Search for correlation between geomagnetic disturbances and mortality. Nature 259, 302–304 (1976).

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