Best Birthday Month?

With Spring well under way, at least by the calendar if not by the weather, many of us are beginning to feel more optimistic. It is a classic time for young people to get married too.

There are consequences to young people turning towards thoughts of love and there is a good chance that we’ll start to see these next January. We know from Gladwell’s study that January is a good month to be born if you plan to be a professional hockey or soccer player (1). But apparently there is a downside.

There has been a murmuring around the psychiatric fraternity that it is a bad month to make your entrance as you may be more prone to psychiatric problems like schizophrenia. Disanto et al have gone after this with a large study of almost 60k patients and 30k controls in the UK database (2).

The results quoted are that January is a poor choice for your birthday if you wish to avoid schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. July through September are rather better choices. May appears to be slightly iffy for a propensity for recurrent depression with November being the best choice.

The seasonal nature leads the authors towards the suggestion that vitamin D or lack thereof might have something to do with it, although, as the data is from England, big seasonal differences in sunshine would seem to be a little tenuous as an explanation, but I may be taking an overly gloomy view.

Before we all get too bent out of shape though, I should point out that the peak to trough differences are about 17% with a uncertainty of ±5%, which isn’t going to give anybody a free pass if they target the best birthday month for their future offspring.


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