The biological effects of air ions and electrostatic fields

Waddell, James Lang (1970) The biological effects of air ions and electrostatic fields. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Over a number of years while working in the climatic chambers at the R.A.F. Institute of Aviation Medicine it has often been noticed that there is a depressing and tiring effect which is difficult to explain in terms of the more usual climatic parameters of temperature and humidity. Similar symptoms in enclosed air conditioned spaces have been noticed by other people both within the Ministry of Defence and elsewhere. The lethargic feeling resembles that associated with heavy thundery weather and with certain winds of ill repute which are found in some parts of the world and whose effects are difficult to explain in terms of temperature and humidity alone. Because of the electrical disturbances taking place in the atmosphere as a prelude to storms it has been proposed, that the reported symptoms in the natural and artificial environment are in some way associated with the local electrical climate. In Part 1. of this thesis the physics of air ions and electrostatic fields, the two constituents of Man's Physical Environment which have received most attention in this context, are examined to try to understand their role in the natural environment and in situations created artificially for studying their biological effect. The results of experimental work reported in the literature are reviewed to try to delineate any physiological mechanism which might be sensitive to such a small natural stimulus. In some countries negative ion therapy is practiced for the alleviation of certain disorders, many of which are psychosomatic in nature, but there are indications that it might be beneficial in post-operative healing and the treatment of burns. Part 2. deals with two. experimental series, the first of which tests the effect of various strengths and configurations of electrostatic fields on the spontaneous activity and growth rate of rats living within the field. The second series examines the effect on the same parameter of living in an ion-free atmosphere. In both series of experiments the results were found to be negative but increase in air movement was shown to have an inhibitory effect on both spontaneous activity and growth rate. This finding adds weight to a criticism which can be levelled at much of the experimental work reported in the literature, that not sufficient attention is paid to controlling the normal climatic parameters.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: R C Garry
Keywords: Physiology
Date of Award: 1970
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1970-72891
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 11:06

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