A recent Norwegian study shows that people born when the Sun had less activity may live up to 5 years longer than people born during periods of intense solar activity. Researchers analyzed demographic data of 8,600 Norway residents born in the country within 1676 and 1878 and compared the results with observations of the Sun.
Scientists learned that people born in periods marked by powerful solar flares and geomagnetic storms lived 5.2 years less than people born when the Sun was calm. It seems that solar activity at birth is linked to less survivability in adulthood leading to shorter life span.
The study was published Wednesday in “Proceedings of the Royal Society.”
The study also revealed that women were more affected by solar activity than men.
The Sun has an 11-year circle. During this period our star reaches a maximum that is marked by sunspots and coronal mass ejections or solar storms that can shut down radio communication, satellites and electrical power on Earth.
Intense solar activity is also linked to high ultraviolet (UV) radiation which causes DNA damage, infertility and skin cancer.
Beside reduced lifespan, people born during intense solar activity also displayed infertility issues. However, it is not clear whether these problems persist in modern day people.
Researchers believe that the issues associated with intense solar activity at birth may have something to do with the UVs destroying B vitamin folate. A lack in this vitamin was linked by previous studies to high rates of illness and death.
Our findings suggest that maternal exposure to solar activity during gestation can affect the fitness of female children,”
They also noticed that high-status mothers were less affected by solar activity by either eating healthier or avoiding staying in the sunlight, or both.
The effect of socio-economic status on the relationship between solar activity and fertility suggests that high-status pregnant women were better able to avoid the adverse effects of high solar activity” — possibly by staying out of the Sun or because a healthier diet curbed the harm,”
the Norwegian researchers noted.
The researchers didn’t have access, however, to data related to the exact time into a solar maximum when the children were born. They also couldn’t find data on how much UV exposure occurred before and after birth.
As a follow-up, researchers plan to learn whether these findings also apply to people of different skin color or living in different altitudes.
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