Non-photic solar associations of heart rate variability and myocardial infarction

Germaine G Cornelissen-Guillaume, Franz Halberg, Tamara Breus, Elena V. Syutkina, Roman Baevsky, Andi Weydahl, Yoshihiko Watanabe, Kuniaki Otsuka, Jarmila Siegelova, Bohumil Fiser, Earl E. Bakken

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119 Scopus citations


Alignment of serial epidemiological, physiological, including electrocardiographic data with variations in galactic cosmic rays, geomagnetic activity, and atmospheric pressure suggests the possibility of links among these physical environmental variations and health risks, such as myocardial infarctions and ischemic strokes, among others. An increase in the incidence of myocardial infarction in association with magnetic storms, reported by several investigators from Russia, Israel, Italy and Mexico, accounts in Minnesota for a 5% (220 cases/year) increase in mortality during years of maximal solar activity by comparison with years of minimal solar activity. Magnetic storms are also found to decrease heart rate variability (HRV), indicating a possible mechanism since a reduced HRV is a prognostic factor for coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction. Longitudinal electrocardiographic monitoring for a week or much longer spans in different geographic locations, notably in the auroral oval, further suggests that the decrease in HRV affects spectral regions other than that around 3.6 s (0.15-0.40 Hz), reportedly associated with the parasympathetic nervous system. Differences in some associations are observed from solar cycle to solar cycle, and as a function of solar cycle stage, a finding resolving controversies. Coordinated physiological and physical monitoring, the scope of an international project on the Biosphere and the Cosmos, seeks reference values for a better understanding of environmental effects on human health and for testing the merit of space weather reports that could prompt countermeasures in space and on earth. Physiological data being collected systematically worldwide and morbidity/mortality statistics from causes such as myocardial infarction and stroke constitute invaluable data bases for assessing changes within the physiological range, for detecting environmental effects and for recognizing endogenous as well as exogenous disease-risk syndromes. Timely and timed intervention may then be instituted to lower risk, in preference to exclusive current focus on treating overt disease. These chronodiagnostics are particularly important for those venturing into regions away from hospitals, such as astronauts in space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-720
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 2002


  • Disease-risk syndrome
  • Heart rate variability
  • Magnetic storm
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Stroke


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