Israeli Study: People Born in Winter More Susceptible to Cancer

Israeli researchers have detected an increased risk of developing cancerous growths among people born between January and March, in trials conducted at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.

Research revealing a link between the birth month and life expectancy, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal in 2001, showed that people born between September and November have the best chance of living longer.

The Israeli researchers examined the records of 44,487 patients who were treated in hospital for cancerous growths between 1994 and 2011. Statistical breakdowns revealed that corresponding to the findings of a decade ago, the highest number of male cancer sufferers were born in the first third of the year, especially in January, March and April, with a reduced risk for those born in February.

Of the male patients in the study, 11.4 percent were born in March, 9.9 percent in January and 9.5 percent in April, compared with 8.6 percent in December, 8.4 percent in May, 8 percent in February, 7.8 percent in July, 7.7 percent in October, 7.4 percent in August, 7.1 percent in June and September, and 7 percent in November.

A similar, if less marked trend was found among female patients. "People born in the first third of the year are more exposed to the danger of developing malignant growths in their bodies," the researchers concluded. The results of this research study were recently published in the Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology.

The findings overlap those of a study of 4,732 Israeli patients who underwent urgent catheterizations or had stents inserted into their blood vessels following a heart attack in the years 2000-2010, and a further study by a Lithuanian university that examined the records of 22,047 heart attack sufferers between 1990 and 2010, both of which found a similar trend of increased births of heart condition sufferers in the first months of the year, between January and April, with a decline in February.

This finding even overlaps a study conducted at the University of Chicago's Center on Aging that recently examined over 2,000 people aged 100 to 122, which found that the risk of developing cancer and heart diseases in old age is lower primarily among those born between September and November.

The researchers suggest several explanations for the link between month of birth and risk of cancer, including changes in the earth's physical activity and environmental factors such as changes in nutrition and air pollution levels in different seasons.

Evidence of physical influences on the development of cancer were found in three studies in the years 2000-2001 that found increased chances of cancer among airline pilots and stewards, who spend a relatively large amount of time in the air.

According to the research team leader, Prof. Eliyahu Stoupel, a senior cardiologist at Beilinson Hospital, "It is known that particles from space can affect the activity of enzymes in the body, and it could be that these cause cancer to develop and block the muscles of the heart. Particles from cosmic radiation reach the earth as neutrons, and these could have an effect on the rate of cell-splitting in the body in a way that is liable to support the development of cancer, during certain months."

Stoupel has conducted several studies of the effects of cosmic radiation on sickness rates, which he in 1989 coined "clinical cosmobiology."

"This is the influence of physics and the environment on physiological and pathological processes," he explains.

Studies have already demonstrated a link between higher levels of heart attacks, blood pressure-related diseases and blood clot development in days of storms in the earth's magnetic field, which occur 3.5 percent to 6 percent of the year. One study from recent years found far more cases of sudden death due to heart conditions on days of low electromagnetic activity.