Most scientists call bullshit on the whole horoscope thing, but new research suggests your birth month may count for something after all. It could predict your risk of developing more than 50 different health conditions, according to a study recently published in the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association.
Scientists at Columbia University compared the birth dates and medical records of 1.7 million patients treated at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/CUMC between 1985 and 2013. In sum they looked at 1,688 diseases.
The study ruled out more than 1,600 associations between birth month and disease risk, but the data confirmed 39 suspected links between birthday and disease risk—and uncovered 16 new associations, including nine kinds of heart disease. The researchers even performed mathmagic to rule out any factors that could skew the results, which look like this:
So here's your health horoscope: If you were born in the winter (January through March), you may have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and lower risk of neurological, respiratory, and reproductive conditions. If you were born in the fall (October through December), chances are you have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, but a higher risk of neurological, respiratory, and reproductive conditions. Otherwise, your birth month could set you up for any of the risks in the image above.
The study authors attribute the risks to your mom's environment when she was pregnant, which could compromise your immune system, explains co-study author Mary Regina Boland, a Ph.D. student at Columbia University Medical Center. For instance, some research suggests that pregnant woman who contract the flu have babies who are more prone to cardiovascular disease.
More research is needed to explain other associations between birth month and particular conditions. Until then, study authors can't say whether your birth month will definitely mess with your health (or protect you). In other words, being born during a low-risk birth month doesn't mean you can eat crap and sit on your butt without it affecting your health—and being born during a high-risk month doesn't mean you're doomed.
So while you can (and should) take all this with a grain of salt, it can't hurt to be extra cautious if you're destined for health issues. So pass the green stuff?