Natural environmental associations in a 50-day human electrocardiogram
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Meteorotropic associations of heart rate (HR) and HR variability (HRV) were investigated in a clinically healthy 48-year-old man in Kiev. His electrocardiogram (ECG) was determined over 50 days by fitting him with an ambulatorily wearable device; various natural physical environmental variables were also monitored. The mean inter-beat interval, the standard deviation of these intervals, the spectral power in several frequency ranges, the power ratio of the approx. 10.5-s/approx. 3.6-s spectral components and other aspects of HRV were computed over consecutive 14.4-min intervals. Together with ordinary meteorological variables, geomagnetic disturbances (GMD) and fluctuations of atmospheric pressure (FAP) in the range 0.01–0.10 Hz (10–100 s) were measured. The assessable infradian spectra (with frequencies lower than 1 cycle/28 hours) of all HRV parameters showed two major components with periods of about 3.5 and 10 days. Two environmental variables, FAP and wind speed (with which FAP is closely related), revealed both of these rhythms and showed the greatest cross-spectral coherence (0.70–0.98) with corresponding oscillations of HRV. Less specific but statistically significant product-moment correlations with major HRV indices were also found; most of these were with FAP, but correlations with air temperature, humidity, wind speed and geomagnetic disturbances were also found.
Long-term ECG recording, essential in the detection of infradian rhythms, proved to be sensitive to physical environmental variables, notably meteorological ones. FAP, usually neglected since its role has not been considered in previous biometeorological studies, or some factor closely related to FAP is probably involved in synchronizing or influencing the approximately 3.5-day HR and HRV rhythms in humans.
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