Monday, June 30, 2008

What's Your Sign?

Are you predisposed towards nearsightedness? Is there a chance you might be (or become) schizophrenic? What's your risk of cancer or heart disease?

According to some psychiatrists the month and time of year you were born gives some indication of your future health.

The association between birth season and health, meanwhile, has been confirmed repeatedly by studies published in peer-reviewed journals.

It was first noticed with the neurological disorder schizophrenia; subsequent research has shown the month of birth can influence your risk of suicide and chance of developing certain cancers, Crohn's disease, coronary heart disease and brain tumors, says psychiatrist Emad Salib of Peasley Cross Hospital in Britain,

That's a fairly broad association if you ask me.

Literature reviews, meanwhile, show that more patients with schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and narcolepsy are born in December and January. Those with affective disorders—alcohol dependence, autism, dyslexia and multiple sclerosis—are reported more frequently in those born during spring and summer months.

And what is the correlation?

A mother's health is the root of several possible explanations. For instance, the fetal origins hypothesis holds that early environmental conditions in utero and during infancy can program human immune development. Some of these factors include a mother's access to fresh vegetables or vitamins, or her exposure to an infectious disease such as influenza that might harm the brain of a developing fetus.

OK, I might be willing to buy into that.

So is there any good news?

"Children born in autumn will tend to be the biggest, strongest and most developed in their school year," he said. "So they are more likely to do better in sport, which may motivate them to stay active.

But then there is this . . .

Of course there will always be October-born people who are sedentary and June babies with perfect vision. Season of birth research is in its infancy, so it shouldn't weigh into family-planning decisions.

As a September baby, I am more inclined to think I am in the bigger, stronger category.

Wonder what my horoscope says for today?
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