Why Over-60s Are More Likely To Die On Their Birthdays

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New research suggest that we are more likely to die on our birthdays than any other day.

According to the conclusions of a study published in the Annals Of Epidemiology “death has a preference for birthdays”.

Researchers looked at the mortality rates of two million people to determine whether individuals were more likely to pass away on their birthday or ‘postpone’ the event.

On average, people over the age of 60 were 14% more likely to die on their birthdays.

death cake

Heart attacks rose 18.6 per cent on birthdays and were higher for men and women while strokes were up 21.5% - mostly in women, reports The Telegraph.

The phenomenon, drawn from data gathered over a 40-year period (1969–2008), is describe as the 'anniversary reaction' by researchers.

"We concluded that birthdays end lethally more frequently than might be expected,'' says Dr Vladeta Ajdacic-Gross, who led the Swiss study, reports The Independent.

And added that individuals may feel more stress on birthdays.

Dr Lewis Halsey, a senior lecturer in environmental physiology at the University of Roehampton, said to The Independent. "It's a great example of the value of super-large amounts of human data. Only with national-level statistics, carefully recorded over many years, can subtle patterns such as these significant increases in death rates on birthdays be uncovered.

"One interesting finding is that more suicides happen on birthdays, though only in men. The authors suggest that this increase could be related to more alcohol being drunk on birthdays. But perhaps men are more likely to make a statement about their unhappiness when they think people will be taking more notice of them.

"Or perhaps women feel that it is unfair on others who might be celebrating with them to put them through dealing with their suicide."

News Pictures Of The Day: 11 June 2012
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