We’ve debunked a lot of pseudoscience before, but could your birth month actually affect you?
Astrology is a pseudoscience based on the idea that there’s a relationship to the position of the astrological bodies and events of Earth. Horoscopes prescribe that the alignment of the planets dictates how we behave and shapes our personalities. We all may take a peek at our horoscope every once in a while, they are pretty unanimously dismissed by the scientific community. However, there have been a number of studies that seem to show that the month you are born might have some impact on your health later in life. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry found the risk of developing multiple sclerosis is highest for those born in the month of April, and lowest in October. A different study published in the journal Thorax found that babies born in high pollen seasons were more likely to later develop allergies or asthma when they get older.
These studies prompted an even bigger study published in the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association, which used Columbia University Medical Center’s health record data to compared nearly 1,700 diseases against the birth dates and medical histories of 1.7 million patients. This massive study was able to find 55 health problems related to what month you were born in. There’s even a suggestion of seasonality, with conditions grouping in certain months that are close together, like a risk of heart conditions rising for people born in March or April.
So what the heck is going on here? Have astrologers been right all this time? Not quite. As we’re fond of saying on DNews: correlation does not equal causation. Scientists are able to find to find a scientific explanation behind many of these. Associations might be because of certain environmental conditions of these months. For example: the amount of sunlight a person is exposed to early in life could change the developing brain. And those kids born in, say, November or December might be more likely to get ADHD. On other hand it might be those kids are just younger in their class so the workload causes them to struggle more than their older peers. The researchers stressed that the risks they found are only minor: diet and exercise are “more influential” variables on a person’s health, for example.
Can the season that you were born in affect your personality?
There’s a long history of studying the connection between birthdays and personalities. The Chinese zodiac system that says those born in the Year of the Snake are marked by intelligence. The Greek-rooted astrological system says that people born under the Pisces sign are extremely sensitive. While these systems have no firm scientific basis, researchers are now delving into the subject to study the relationship between birth dates and personalities.
A team of Hungarian scientists studied 400 subjects, comparing their birth season to their adult personality types.
They found some interesting trends:
–People born in the winter tended to be less irritable (versus those born in other seasons), but also more likely to have depressive temperaments
–People born in the summer showed more frequent mood swings, between sad and happy, compared with people born in the winter.
–People born in spring and summer tended to be excessively positive.
–People born in autumn were not as prone to a depressive temperament as those born in winter.
These findings should definitely be taken with a grain of salt. The sample size was relatively small and the findings were data trends-not definitive scientific evidence. Researchers will continue to look for hard-coded genetic markers related to a person’s birth season. That kind of conclusion could not only make your daily horoscope a lot more interesting-it could also help health professionals predict mood disorders and other conditions.