Season of birth affects short- and long-term survival.

Abstract:

:Recent research findings have highlighted the importance of early life conditions as risk factors for adult diseases and therefore determinants of subsequent survival. Given that individuals born during different seasons in seasonal environments experience different early-developmental conditions, an analysis of the effects of the season of birth on survival is considered an effective approach in clarifying the influence of early life conditions on survival in later life. In the present study, we analyzed the long-term effects of early developmental conditions in a historical population in which both nutritional levels and the burden of infectious diseases showed a seasonal variation. Using a semi-computerized linkage process, we were able to match birth and death data for 4,646 individuals born between 1634 and 1870 in the village of Es Mercadal (Minorca Island, Spain). To determine ecological differences associated with the season of birth, we first evaluated the association between season of birth and early life survival. This analysis helped us to determine seasonal variations in early life conditions such as infectious burden and nutritional levels. The season of birth had a significant effect on long-term survival in the birth cohort 1800-1870: summer births had a lower risk of death after age 15. We explain these results in terms of lower susceptibility to degenerative diseases in adult years due to superior in utero nutrition for summer births. These findings support the fetal origin hypothesis which states that the early life environment plays a key role in shaping the subsequent phenotype and risk of adult disease.

journal_name

Am J Phys Anthropol

authors

Muñoz-Tudurí M,García-Moro C

doi

10.1002/ajpa.20770

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2008-04-01 00:00:00

pages

462-8

issue

4

eissn

0002-9483

issn

1096-8644

journal_volume

135

pub_type

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