The influence of several changes in atmospheric states over semi-arid areas on the incidence of mental health disorders

Naomy S. Yackerson, Arkadi Zilberman, Doron Todder, Zeev Kaplan

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    13 Scopus citations


    The incidence of suicide attempts [Deliberate Self Harm (DSH); ICD-10: X60-X84] and psychotic attacks (PsA; ICD-10, F20-F29) in association with atmospheric states, typical for areas close to big deserts, was analyzed. A retrospective study is based on the 4,325 cases of DSH and PsA registered in the Mental Health Center (MHC) of Ben-Gurion University (Be'er-Sheva, Israel) during 2001-2003. Pearson and Spearman test correlations were used; the statistical significance was tested at p < 0.1. The influence of temperature and humidity on suicide attempts (NSU) and psychotic attacks (NPS) was weakly pronounced (p<0.1).Correlation coefficients between NSU and NPS and speed WS of westerly wind reaches 0.3 (p > 0.05), while their dependence on easterly WS was weaker (p<0.09). Variations in easterly wind direction WD influence NSU and NPS values (p > 0.04), but no corresponding correlation with westerly winds was found (p<0.3). Obviously, in transition areas located between different regions, the main role of air streams in meteorological-biological impact can scarcely be exaggerated. An unstable balance in the internal state of a weather-sensitive person is disturbed when the atmospheric state is changed by specific desert winds, which can provoke significant perturbations in meteorological parameters. Results indicate the importance of wind direction, defining mainly the atmospheric situation in semi-arid areas: changes in direction of the easterly wind influence NSU and NPS, while changes in WS are important for mental health under westerly air streams. Obviously, NSU and NPS are more affected by the disturbance of weather from its normal state, for a given season, to which the local population is accustomed, than by absolute values of meteorological parameters.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)403-410
    Number of pages8
    JournalInternational Journal of Biometeorology
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 1 May 2011


    • Atmospheric state
    • Psychotic attacks
    • Semi-arid areas
    • Suicide attempts


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