Seasonality and Disease Risk, Then and Now
Hippocrates, the founder of medicine, made a connection between diseases and seasonality millennia ago. In the more recent past, several studies have demonstrated seasonal relationships that link birth month with neurological, reproductive, endocrine, and immune/inflammatory disorders as well as overall lifespan. Lifetime disease risk is indeed affected by birth month. For most conditions, however, the relationships have not been determined.
Now a retrospective population study conducted by researchers at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center has examined the relationship between seasonal affects at birth and lifetime disease risk for 1688 conditions. Their algorithm, Season-Wide Association Study (SeaWAS), finds all conditions associated with birth month and detects diseases with seasonal components related to early development.
See highlights of the SeaWAS findings on the pages that follow: