© Nick Russill
Washington: Maybe it is time to wear tin foil on our heads. With high electromagnetic activity from the sun coming this way, our human electromagnetic fields may start glowing.

Even if we do not begin incandescing, scientists have noticed correlations between solar flares and moods.

Solar Effects

From 1948 to 1997, the Institute of North Industrial Ecology Problems in Russia found that geomagnetic activity showed three seasonal peaks each of those years (March to May, in July, and in October). Every peak matched an increased incidence of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide in the city Kirovsk.

One explanation for the correlation is that solar storms desynchronize our circadian rhythm (biological clock). The pineal gland in our brain is affected by the electromagnetic activity.

This causes the gland to produce excess melatonin, and melatonin is the brain's built in "downer" that helps us sleep.

"The circadian regulatory system depends on repeated environmental cues to [synchronize] internal clocks," says psychiatrist Kelly Posner, Columbia University. "Magnetic fields may be one of these environmental cues."

Solar Symptoms and Side Effects

Psychological effects of CMEs (coronal mass ejections) are typically short lived and include headache, palpitations, mood swings, and feeling generally unwell. Chaotic or confused thinking, and erratic behaviors also increase. Since Tuesday's solar flare was a double-whammy, it will be interesting to see whether reports of physical disturbances are more intense or more plentiful than during single solar plasma blasts.

Solar eruptions throw 10 billion kilograms, or 22 billion pounds, of solar plasma into space. If that number is hard to grasp, just think of it as ginormous. One to three flares are a daily occurrence on the sun but the waves of charged particles do not always visit our planet. Those that do reach us are both beauty and a possible beast.

Particles from CMEs get "caught" in the Earth's web of magnetic field lines and collide with gas atoms in the atmosphere. The result is the colorful chimera we call an Aurora, or northern lights. While human ancestors likely enjoyed those tapestries of color, and may have had mood swings from solar flares, they did not have to worry about the storms messing with satellites and power grids, as we do.

Magnetic Fields in 2012

Since humans are physically, mentally, and emotionally altered by electromagnetic charges from the sun, it makes you wonder how the bombardment of particles from digital devices affects us on daily basis. All this leads one to think that it might be time to break out the tin foil, but since my cats are not acting any more demanding or nuttier than usual, we are most likely OK.

However, don't be surprised if next new "plea" in our legal system turns out to be: not guilty by reason of electromagnetic disruption.

Resource:

Battros, Mitch. (12/2008) New Scientific Study Shows Solar Activity Affects Humans Physical and Mental State.