Were you or your child born between March 20 and June 21? It turns out, researchers have found correlations between certain diseases, career paths and personalities—all based on the season in which we were born. While not all correlations equal causation, we wanted to take a look at the more surprising things attributed to babies born in the spring. Warning: It's not all flowers and baby chicks.
Researchers studying adult life expectancy in Austria and Denmark found a troubling correlation between spring births and overall lifespan. Namely, adults 50 and older who were born in the spring died approximately six months sooner than others. While that sounds scary, there is good news. The same researchers also looked into the mortality rate of infants, expecting to see similar results, but didn't. Environmental factors in utero and early childhood likely contribute to overall lifespan, not just when we're born.
Researchers from Columbia found that children born in November had the highest risk of developing ADHD, although their study was admittedly limited as it only observed children in New York. Other researchers have found a significant increase in ADHD diagnoses for the youngest children in classrooms, giving weight to the theory that older children (like those born in spring) are less likely to develop ADHD. Of course, that doesn't mean spring babies won't or can't develop the disorder.
Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Center for Human Genetics in the United Kingdom discovered a surprising link to a dangerous eating disorder and a patient's birth season. Namely, they found that for every 100 patients studied (who were born between March and June) eight developed anorexia, which represents a 15 percent increased risk. While the reasons behind this phenomena remain unclear, some theories include the birth mother's vitamin D levels, changes in weather, infections and dietary habits during pregnancy.
While spring might mean hell for our allergies, it turns out it's a great time to be born if you want to breathe clearly. Allergy and respiratory geneticists from the University of South Hampton in the United Kingdom studied DNA markers in children born in different seasons to learn if there was a link between when we're born and the development of allergies. Surprisingly, they found an increased risk of allergies, hay fever, asthma and eczema in children born in fall and the least risk for babies born in the spring.
While spring babies may have fewer allergies, those born in May are even luckier. Researchers discovered that May babies also have less risk of developing respiratory infections. While the exact reason remains unclear, it is believed that environmental factors during particular seasons play a role in shaping the future health and well-being of a child.
While spring babies may enjoy fewer allergies and colds, they are at a much higher risk for developing heart-related problems, including heart disease. In fact, Columbia researchers discovered that babies born in the spring have higher incidences of developing heart disease, with March babies having the highest rates of all. While the link isn't completely understood, it's (once again) believed to be the effect of our environment on our genetics when we're born that creates these patterns of disease.
Another heart-related condition spring babies have to watch out for in their adult years is angina (chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart). According to a study published by Oxford University Press, April babies have the highest risk of developing angina as adults, with those born in September presenting the lowest risk. The good news is that angina can often be treated with lifestyle changes (including exercise and a healthy diet), as well as medications.
Another heart-related issue spring babies are at risk for is atrial fibrillation (a-fib), which is when the atria (upper chambers of the heart) beats out of sync with the ventricles (lower chambers) due to poor circulation of blood. The study in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association found that adults who were born in March had a statistically significant increase in a-fib diagnoses, which can be a lifelong condition.
This one is actually kind of scary. The same research that found a link between spring births and increased risk of heart-related conditions like atrial fibrillation and angina also found that adults who were born in March had a higher statistical rate of developing congestive cardiac failure. It is because of these findings that spring babies have a slightly lower overall life expectancy (into adulthood) than those who are born in other seasons.
Finally, some good news! Although spring babies have some pretty serious medical risks when they reach adulthood, one bonus is that they're most likely to be CEOs, especially if they're born in March or April. (It makes you wonder if part of the heart-related problems spring babies face comes from the pressures of being the head honcho?) What's interesting is that babies born in June and July actually have the lowest chance of being a CEO, meaning not all spring babies are destined to rule the world (just most of us).
Babies born in the spring have another protective benefit: They're less likely to develop neurological diseases, with March babies having the most significant protection. Like many of the risks and benefits associated with seasons of birth, researchers widely believe the phenomena is due to environmental factors both in the womb and outside in the immediate area a child is exposed to after birth.
If you've ever met a spring baby who seemed annoyingly happy, blame it on their birth season. Researchers have found that babies born between March and June scored high on the hyperthymia scale, which is a scientific way of saying "excessively optimistic." Perhaps it's all that spring sunshine babies get that helps wire them for a lifetime of positivity.
Not only are spring babies happier, they're also less likely overall to develop mental health problems in their lifetime. While that doesn't mean they won't ever have issues with their mental health, the overall incidence rate is significantly lower. Sadly, winter babies are shown to have the highest rate of mental health disorders, which might once again be explained by the lack of sunlight exposure in early childhood.
OK, remember how we said spring babies are less likely to suffer from mental health issues? While that's true overall, they also seem to have a higher rate of clinical depression. (Confused? We were, too.) Here's the catch: Only babies born in May in the U.K. (where the study was performed) have this heightened risk (which manifests in adulthood). Since babies born in November have the lowest risk, it gives researchers a window into how they can develop preventive treatments to combat the risk.
More good news! It turns out that babies born in March are more likely to be creative. The actual study, performed by researchers at the University of Connecticut, found that there was an influx of creativity as well as celebrity births in "wet" months (which include December, January and February). Sadly, it doesn't mean you should put your little one in acting classes just yet, because another study found that babies born from January to February had the highest chance of becoming famous later in life.
Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic and widespread inflammation, as well as thyroid gland failure, and babies born in April seem to have the highest risk. Low levels of vitamin D and limited sun exposure are believed to be part of the reason some develop this highly common autoimmune disease. The good news is that it's treatable and some notable celebs have it, like supermodel Gigi Hadid who, coincidentally, was born in April.
April babies have it rough! Finnish researchers found that those born in April had an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis, which is a degenerative autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the sheath (or covering) of nerves, leading to numbness, speech impairment, loss of muscle coordination and more. The risk is approximately 9.4 percent higher than other months and possibly linked to women not getting enough vitamin D during their pregnancies.
Get ready to pull a lot of all-nighters because researchers discovered that babies born in spring (as well as summer) tend to fall asleep later than those born in autumn and winter. Interestingly, girls tended to fall asleep earlier regardless of when they were born, meaning if you've got a spring or summer-born boy, you're in for some sleepless nights.
If you or your child happens to be a boy who was born in March, you may want to be extra diligent about getting prostate exams. Researchers at Columbia discovered a link between boys born that month and an increased risk of prostate cancer. The good news is that this study focused exclusively on babies born in New York, meaning more research needs to be done to see if boys born in March in other regions have the same risk.
Ending on a high note is the cool correlation between pilots and spring birthdays, particularly in March (which also has a lot of musicians). Other spring months were also studied, with April having the most dictators (ouch), May having the most politicians and June, Nobel Peace Prize winners (which isn't actually a job but still pretty awesome).
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