Nature 1990 : Sunspots Cause Flu Outbreaks

Flu Time – When the Sunspots Are Jumping? –

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6 Responses to Nature 1990 : Sunspots Cause Flu Outbreaks

  1. arn says:

    And this flu results in increased body heat(more heat) and sneezing(more co2 output)= both are driving global warming :)

  2. AZ1971 says:

    This is the perfect example of how and why correlation does not equal causation, and why CO2 is likely a two-bit player in current global warming.

  3. TedL says:

    actually there is a very good basis for the relationship between sunspots and influenza. Please read this article about influenza and Vitamin D.

    As you know, Vitamin D is the Sunshine Vitamin, which is the important clue. This article also has good advice about how to prevent getting the ‘flu. Here is the key passage from the article:

    Influenza and solar radiation

    In spite of people congregating on cruise ships, airplanes, nursing homes, factories, offices, subways, hospitals, etc., summertime outbreaks and the spread of influenza A are rare [52, 53]. Curwen found a strong inverse correlation between the incidence of influenza and temperature in England and Wales [54], temperature being strongly associated with solar radiation [55]. He found average monthly temperature dropped below around 7°C during the influenza season. It is of interest that no vitamin D is made in the skin at latitude 52° N (the latitude of London) from about October to March because atmospheric ozone easily filters out UVB radiation unless the sun is high enough in the sky [56].

    Annual all-cause mortality peaks in the months following the winter solstice and most excess wintertime mortality is in the elderly, due to both influenza and cardiac disease; some believe influenza explains all the significant wintertime increase in cardiac mortality [57]. The average excess winter mortality in Great Britain alone is 30 000 persons per year [58], and is inversely related to hours of sunlight with 2·9% lower odds for every additional hour of sunshine; mortality from respiratory disease showed the greatest sunshine benefit.

    If vitamin D is Hope-Simpson’s ‘seasonal stimulus’, then countries with low 25(OH)D levels and marked wintertime troughs should have higher excess wintertime mortality than do countries with high 25(OH)D levels and little seasonal variation. For example, Norway has the highest 25(OH)D levels in Europe (thought to be due to its high year-round consumption of fish and cod liver oil) [59]. Levels of 25(OH)D in Scandinavia display the least seasonal variation in Europe; indeed there is virtually no 25(OH)D seasonal variation among the elderly in Scandinavia [60]. On the other hand, the elderly in Great Britain have low 25(OH)D levels and such deficiencies are much more common during the influenza season [61]. Excess wintertime mortality is twice as high in Great Britain as in Norway [62].

    Global weather changes are associated with El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) [63]. Viboud et al. found an average of 3·7 million influenza cases in France during the 10 cold phases of ENSO but only 1·8 million cases during the eight warm phases [64]. The same authors reported that cold ENSO phases are associated with colder temperatures in Europe. Colder temperatures should lower mean serum population 25(OH)D levels by lessening outdoor activity and necessitating more clothes when outdoors. Ebi et al. studied six Californian counties and found that hospitalizations for viral pneumonia peaked around the winter solstice in all six counties [65]. They also found hospitalizations increased 30–50% for every 5 °F (3 °C) decrease in minimum temperatures in four counties and increased 25–40% for every 5 °F (3 °C) decrease in maximum temperatures in the other two.

    Hope-Simpson was the first to note an association between severe influenza epidemics and solar flare activity [66]. In 1990, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe confirmed the association but von Alvensleben disputed it [67, 68]. Horgan [69] promptly derided the observations, connecting them to viral invasions from outer space, a theory Hope-Simpson dismissed in his 1992 book [3]. Since the controversy, science has learned that solar flare activity increases high-altitude ozone, which, in turn, absorbs more UVB radiation thereby decreasing surface UVB [70]. Thus, paradoxically, heightened solar activity reduces surface UVB; presumably, average 25(OH)D levels would be lower as well. Rozema et al. estimated the variations in surface UVB radiation due to the solar flare activity over the last 300 years and estimated that, beginning in the eighteenth century, ‘the dose of surface UV-B should be (about) 4% to 13% lower at maxima of the 11-year solar cycle’ [71]. Although modest, such reoccurring decreases in UVB radiation should trigger reductions in average 25(OH)D levels, which, in turn, could trigger nonlinear factors related to influenza infectivity.

    • arn says:

      Well- i do not think that our body can tell the difference between a sunny day with sunspots and a sunny day without.
      The production of vitamin D in our body should be identical
      in both cases
      and depending on brightness(lux) of day depending on how cloudy/dusty/foggy it is.

  4. Louis Hooffstetter says:

    This is an extension of Hoyle and Wickramasinghe’s theory of Panspermia, or the idea that life exists throughout the Universe, and that planets are seeded with the precousers of life (either organic molecules or extremophile organisms) by meteorites, asteroids, and comets. The overall idea is plausible, as organic molecules have been discovered in meteorites and space dust, but to my knowledge, the existence of extremophiles (i.e. potential pathogens) that can survive the environment of deep space has not been confirmed.

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