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Study ties birth month to longevity

The Local · 15 Mar 2011, 13:47

Published: 15 Mar 2011 13:47 GMT+01:00

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Scientists at the university’s hospital in northeastern Germany analysed several million deaths related to cardiovascular diseases between 1992 and 2007.

They found that women born in November lived some 7.3 months longer than those born in May, while men lived 11.7 months longer.

But the pattern was also similar for what the scientists called “all-cause deaths,” with a mean difference between subjects born in November and May at some 9.6 months for women of 9.4 months for men.

“Right now we can only speculate about the factors in the first months before or after our birth that have such a formative influence on cardiovascular risks,” project leader Thorsten Reffelman told news agency DAPD.

In addition to meteorological data or sun intensity, influences such as nutrition during pregnancy, air pollution or infectious diseases at different times of the year could be factors that also explain the data, he said.

Levels of physical activity tied to weather conditions may also explain the results.

In cooperation with statisticians, researchers found that the trend held for German states with both higher and lower life expectancies, and across rural and urban areas.

“Season of birth presents a well-defined variable associated with various environmental factors in early life, which are most likely not directly related to the genetic background,” according to the study published in this month’s edition of the "Journal of the American College of Cardiology."

Story continues below…

Other smaller studies have shown that factors such as adult arterial blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues were related to the birth month of patients, but the Greifswald researchers wanted to find out if this directly affected mortality too.

They suggested that subsequent studies focus on the underlying causes of this relationship.

DPAD/The Local/ka

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Your comments about this article

13:57 March 15, 2011 by moistvelvet
How many fruit pastels does it take to choke a Kestrel, can these scientists answer the serious qeustions?
14:19 March 15, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
oh boy, I am doomed... I was born in spring also...

never mind the fact that people on both sides of my family regularly live well into their late 80s and early 90s... somebody said it, so it must be true...
14:45 March 15, 2011 by SockRayBlue
In the Grand Scheme of things does anyone really care?

It is the quality of the life experience over the quantity that counts. Is another years of misery worth it?
15:19 March 15, 2011 by Gretl
And how many years do you lose for smoking and drinking? Those 7 months are already used up.
16:25 March 15, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
isn't there a saying, something like, don't just try to give your life more years, but also give your years more life? Makes sense to me.
17:10 March 15, 2011 by catjones
In another scientific study it was discovered that all those born before 1900 died. Scientists believe the extinction was the result of a giant error in logic.
19:40 March 15, 2011 by Loth
If you were born in November that is 6 month later then May. Does that have any thing to do with anything? November is closer to the end of the year maybe giving you a longer life in years? Depends on how you count the time?
20:21 March 15, 2011 by catjones
It might be conception month, not birth month.
03:58 March 16, 2011 by Ludwig von America
It seems these scientists looked only at German statistics. It would be interesting to see the results of such a study in Australia. Since they're the land down under, I bet the results would be opposite from Germany...May babies live longer than November babies!
10:17 March 16, 2011 by Joshontour
So does this study only involve people who were born in the Northern Hemisphere. If so, then study births in the Southern Hemisphere to see if the trend is reversed. If not then you have a poor study group and need to start from the beginning, isolate Northern and Southern Hemisphere births, and study if the trend reverses due to the seasons being opposite in the two hemispheres.
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