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Meteoropathy

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Meteoropathy (from Greek meteora, celestial phenomena, and pathos, feeling, pain, suffering) is a physical condition, or symptom associated with weather conditions such as humidity, temperature or pressure. Someone subject to meteoropathy is called meteoropathic.[1]

Meteoropathy is different from historical conceptions of "air" causing diseases and strongly influencing people's sense of well-being (see Miasma theory of disease). There appear to be significant and measurable correlations between particular atmospherical events (such as a sudden increase in humidity and temperature) and the onset of disease (such as stroke).[citation needed][2]

A few researchers found significant effect on mood correlated with the weather, especially with regards to humidity (a component of weather not always measured): "Humidity, temperature, and hours of sunshine had the greatest effect on mood. High levels of humidity lowered scores on concentration while increasing reports of sleepiness. Rising temperatures lowered anxiety and skepticism mood scores. [...] The number of hours of sunshine was found to predict optimism scores significantly. As the number of hours of sunshine increased, optimism scores also increased. [...] Mood scores on the depression and anxiety scales were not predicted by any weather variable.[3][4][5]

"Pleasant weather (higher temperature or barometric pressure) was related to higher mood, better memory, and ‘‘broadened’’ cognitive style during the spring as time spent outside increased. The same relationships between mood and weather were not observed during other times of year, and indeed hotter weather was associated with lower mood in the summer." [6]

Non-English languages

The word meteoropathy is uncommon in English, but the concept and similar words are widespread in certain other languages. In Polish a sufferer is a meteopata, in Italian a meteoropatico, in Croatian a meteoropat,[7] and Macedonian a метеопат (meteopat) for example.

Notes

  1. See Oxford Companion to the Body http://www.answers.com/topic/meteopathy
  2. Lopez del Val LJ, Rubio E, Calatayud V, Lopez del Val JA, Sanchez E., Effect of atmospheric factors on the presentation of cerebrovascular accidents, published in Neurologia 1991 Feb;6(2):52-5
  3. Howard and Hoffman (1984)
  4. Sanders and Brizzolara (1982)
  5. Faust et al.(1974)
  6. Keller and his colleagues (2005)
  7. Hrvatski jezični portal
 

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