DR. DAVE HEPBURN  |  JUNE 12, 2013

Diseases by birth month?

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“Doctor, I’m having some real problems with my stomach. Every time I...”
“What month were you born in?”
“When were you born?”
“I see, well then. I have to wonder about your state of mind.”
“Check please.”

Oddly enough, it turns out that those born in February are more likely to have Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and toss in some super-sized seizures for good luck. No wonder groundhogs head back into their holes. (“That was a rude thing for him to say George”) Says a lot for groundhogs and Valentine’s Day.

As doctors we no longer consult the stars for help, though I once asked Liberace if he thought my pants made my butt look like a cruciferous vegetable. But researchers have long known that your month of birth can make a very small but noticeable difference in your medical future. Dozens of illnesses have been correlated with specific birth months. Why? What you expose your fetus to (and don’t we all hate exposing our fetuses) can have ramifications that last a lifetime. The time of year can determine the abundance or paucity of fetal exposure to certain viruses, nutrition, Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), NHL playoffs and even pollen.  

For example, schizophrenia, though uncommon, has a 10% increased risk if you are born in the dark months. Could fetal exposure to a virus in the second trimester of pregnancy when neurodevelopment begins be linked to schizophrenia? For Multiple Sclerosis, April and May are particularly bad months to be born in the Northern Hemisphere possibly due to low Vitamin D exposure in utero. Interestingly October births have the lowest risk for MS. A new study reports that children whose mothers were exposed to high pollen levels in late pregnancy are at increased risk for asthma and allergies at a young age.

Even people's success later in life may be influenced by the time of year in which they were born, according to researchers from the University of British Columbia, who found that babies born in the summer are less likely to make it to the top of the corporate ladder and become CEOs and get that key to the special washroom. I am an August baby which might explain why it was either the mailroom or politics for me. 
And how about life expectancy in general? Should you happen to be born between October and December the odds are that you will live 125 days longer than a sibling born between April and June. The difference is the same as smoking 10 cigarettes a day for four years. Oddly the exact reverse is true if you’re born in the Southern Hemisphere. 

What diseases and disorders are most common for each birth month? ABC News compiled the following list. You will now skim down to your month and gasp in horror. By consulting this list you can have your diagnosis before you even come to our office.

Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, respiratory syncytial virus
Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, epilepsy
Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, autism, narcolepsy, Hodgkin's disease, multiple sclerosis, bipolar disorder, epilepsy
Leukemia, dyslexia, learning disabilities, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, bipolar disorder, epilepsy, ALS
Dyslexia, learning disabilities, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson's disease
Anorexia, diabetes, dyslexia, learning disabilities, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson's disease, and celiac disease
Diabetes, celiac disease, dyslexia, learning disabilities
Diabetes, celiac disease, autism, Crohn's disease
ADHD, asthma
Asthma, eczema
Asthma, eczema, respiratory syncytial virus
Respiratory syncytial virus

Listen live or call in to Dr Dave on his fun yet informative radio show, Wisequacks, heard each Sunday at 2 p.m. at www.cknw.com.