No effect of season of birth on risk of type 1 diabetes, cancer, schizophrenia and ischemic heart disease, while some variations may be seen for pneumonia and multiple sclerosis
Dermato Endocrinology: Volume 5, Issue 2 April/May/June 2013
Susanna við Streym, Lars Rejnmark, Leif Mosekilde and Peter Vestergaard
Background: The risk of type 1 diabetes (T1DM), infections, cancer, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis (MS) has been associated with environmental factors including vitamin D status.
Materials and Methods: Data were obtained from all children born in Denmark in 1940 (n = 72,839), 1977 (n = 89,570), and 1996 (n = 74,015). Information on contacts to hospitals (1977–2009) was obtained from the National Hospital Discharge Register. The main exposure variable was season of birth as a proxy variable for vitamin D status (summer: April–September and winter: October–March).
Results: No associations between season of birth and risk of MS were seen in the 1940 cohort or the 1996 cohort. In the 1977 cohort, there was a borderline statistically significant decreased risk of MS in those born during wintertime compared with those born during summertime (HR = 0.70, 95% CI: 0.47–1.04, p = 0.07). There were no significant differences within the groups regarding season and risk of T1DM at any age, T1DM before 10 y, infection, any type of cancer, schizophrenia and myocardial infarction.
In the 1977 cohort the risk of pneumonia was significantly lower among those born in the summer compared with the winter at any age (HR 0.91, 95% CI 0.85–0.97, p < 0.01) and at age < 10 y (HR 0.90, 95% CI 0.84–0.97, p < 0.01).
Conclusion: MS and pneumonia in young subjects may be related to season of birth and thus maternal vitamin D exposure. Low sunlight exposure in the winter time leading to low vitamin D levels during pregnancy may be a potential explanation.
Received: July 4, 2012; Accepted: November 5, 2012; Published Online: April 1, 2013
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