Geophysical variables and behavior: LXXXII. A strong association between sudden infant death syndrome and increments of global geomagnetic activity--possible support for the melatonin hypothesis

Percept Mot Skills. 1997 Apr;84(2):395-402. doi: 10.2466/pms.1997.84.2.395.


A significant subpopulation of young infants who die suddenly (SIDS) often exhibit anomalies consistent with disruptions within the pineal-limbic system. We have hypothesized that sudden decreases in nocturnal melatonin by a specific range of geomagnetic activity would precipitate sudden infant death. A correlation of .90 was found between the numbers of cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome per month during the years 1960 and 1961 in Ontario and an increase (primarily) in numbers of days per month with average geomagnetic activity between 11 and 20 nT and 31 through 40 nT but a decrease in the numbers of days with values between 21 and 30 nT. This nonlinear sensitivity, presumably associated with specific ripple frequencies within the geomagnetic field, may explain the failure by other researchers to detect linear associations between the numbers of these types of deaths and gross, scalar indicators of geomagnetic activity.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Chemistry
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetics / adverse effects*
  • Melatonin / analysis*
  • Seasons*
  • Sudden Infant Death / diagnosis
  • Sudden Infant Death / epidemiology*


  • Melatonin