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No link between type 1 diabetes and month of birth, study suggests, but heart disease risk affected

New research refutes the link between the month of your birth and type 1 diabetes.
But the study, which was published in the Journal of American Medical Informatics Associatio, did discover a connection between month of birth and other diseases, including heart disease.
The research was conducted using a specially-designed algorithm to scour medical databases in New York City. Based on their medical records and a review of previous literature, the researchers concluded that the month of birth is linked to 55 diseases. On the other hand, they ruled out over 1,600 associations made in other studies.
Type 1 diabetes was one such association; the researchers found no link between the month in which people were born and their chance of developing type 1 diabetes. This goes against a 2009 study published in Diabetes Care, which concluded: “Spring births were associated with increased likelihood of type 1 diabetes but possibly not in all U.S. regions.”
The new study is the largest examination of birth-month and disease risk ever conducted. There has, however, been a plethora of smaller studies, all of which have reported smaller and often disparate results. The lack of clarity on the topic motivated the Columbia researchers to conduct a more conclusive and wide-ranging examination.
“This data could help scientists uncover new disease risk factors,” said senior author Nicholas Tatonetti, assistant professor of biomedical informatics at Columbia University Medical Centre and Columbia’s Data Science Institute.
Lead author Mary Regina Boland added: “Faster computers and electronic health records are accelerating the pace of discovery. We are working to help doctors solve important clinical problems using this new wealth of data.”
The increased risk of heart disease may sound worrying to people with diabetes, who already have a higher risk of heart disease. The research suggests that those born in spring have an ever higher risk. But the research is not as scary as it sounds, according to Tatonetti: “It’s important not to get overly nervous about these results because even though we found significant associations the overall disease risk is not that great. The risk related to birth month is relatively minor when compared to more influential variables like diet and exercise.”
In other words, while the researchers are confident that being born in a certain month does increase one’s risk of developing certain diseases, they don’t think that the increase is very big; it can easily be offset through maintaining a healthy diet and taking part in plenty of exercise.

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