Background: The terrestrial life owes its existence to the sun which is a source of electromagnetic radiation, light and heat.The adverse effects of eruptive solar phenomena on biosphere and especially on human health became of interest during the last twenty years (heliobiology), while their influences on terrestrial and space technological instrumentation is already well known. Although several studies over the world have been performed and possible mechanisms have been proposed; this issue remains under scrutiny.
Objective: We aimed to study the increase or not of the emergency cases arrival at the Emergency Department of the General Hospital at the city of Lamia during 2005,in order to examine the possible effects of geomagnetic storms on human health, physically and psychologically, resulting in possible increased demand of Health Services.
Method and material: The sample of our study included all patients of any age that attended the Medical and Surgical Sections of the Emergency Department at General Hospital of Lamia from 1/1/2005 to 31/12/2005. We used patients’ records to collect data.Anonymity and confidentiality were always kept.There were 37.513 recorded cases. Data was encoded according to diagnosis and stored electronically. Microsoft Office Excel 2003 program was used. Data was then associated, according to time, with the geomagnetic index Dst; Dst is utilized to assess and depict geomagnetic storms evolution, the number of flares and CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejections) as well as solar wind parameters.All previous information was extracted from space observations after proper processing. Microsoft Office Excel 2003 and Origin 7 were also used.
Results: The helio-geomagnetic activity (non-photic effect) seems to affect human health since there was an increased number of cases that arrived at the Emergency Department of Lamia’s General Hospital during periods of increased geomagnetic activity as well as intense flares. It appears that there is a time coincidence with the helio-geomagnetic activity. The influence is more evident on cardiological, oncological, neurological, orthopedical and,partially,on pathological cases.For these categories of patients,higher incidence was recorded generally on January (a month with extraordinary helio-geomagnetic activity), March (a month of maximum occurrence of flares in the last 12 years), May and August (months with strong geomagnetic storms).
Conclusions: The present conclusions add to the existing international literature, strengthening the estimated situation of the middle latitudes and especially Greece where little research has been conducted. Implications for clinical practice:This study could contribute to adequate staffing as a prognostic index and play a role in the preparation of Health Services.
Key words: helio-geomagnetic activity, geomagnetic storms, solar activity, solar-terrestrial relations, health, cardiological cases, oncological cases, neurological cases, orthopedical cases.