Thursday, March 2, 2017

Fertility Rate, Life Expectancy and the Solar Cycle

Source: Huffington Post
Scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim looked at the age of death of individuals born in Norway between 1676 and 1878 and compared the data to solar activity data. In addition to showing that individuals born during a solar maximum tended to die younger, the comparison showed that fertility was reduced in certain women born in years with high solar activity. In an unusual study, Norwegian scientists claim people born during periods of solar calm may live around five years longer than those born when the sun is feisty. They argue peak solar activity brings higher levels of ultraviolet radiation to Earth, which may increase infant mortality by degrading folic acid, or vitamin B9. Both of these are key to rapid cell division and growth that happens during pregnancy. The lifespan of those born in periods of solar maximum was 5.2 years shorter on average than those born during a solar minimum. High solar activity at birth decreased the probability of survival to adulthood,' thus truncating average lifespan.  

Source: Gine Roll Skjærvø, Frode Fossøy and Eivin Røskaft (2015) - Solar activity at birth predicted infant survival and women’s fertility in historical Norway. In: Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biological Sciences 282.