Could periodic patterns in human mortality be sensitive to solar activity?
- 1Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sheffield, Hicks Building, Hounsfield Rd, Sheffield S3 7RH, UK
- 2Public Health GIS Unit, School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, Regent Court, 30 Regent St, Sheffield S1 4DA, UK
Abstract. Seasonal behaviour of human diseases have been observed and reported in the literature for years. Although the Sun plays an essential role in the origin and evolution of life on Earth, it is barely taken into account in biological processes for the development of a specific disease. Higher mortality rates occur during the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere for several diseases, particularly diseases of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. This increment has been associated with seasonal and social causes. However, is there more behind these correlations, in particular in terms of solar variability? In this paper we attempt to make a first step towards answering this question. A detailed wavelet analysis of periodicities for diseases from England and Wales seem to reveal that mortality periodicities (3 days to half a year) could be due to the Earth's position around the Sun. Moreover, crosswavelet and wavelet coherence analysis show common features between medical diseases and solar proxies around solar maximum activity suggesting that this relation, if any, has to be searched in times of high solar activity.