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Death has a preference for birthdays - an analysis of death time series


Ajdacic-Gross, Vladeta; Knöpfli, Daniel; Landolt, Karin; Gostynski, Michal; Engelter, Stefan T; Lyrer, Philippe A; Gutzwiller, Felix; Rössler, Wulf (2012). Death has a preference for birthdays - an analysis of death time series. Annals of Epidemiology, 22(8):603-606.

Abstract

PURPOSE:
To examine the relation between the day of death and the day of birth. To determine whether the "death postponement" hypothesis or the "anniversary reaction" hypothesis is more appropriate.
METHODS:
We analyzed data from the Swiss mortality statistics 1969-2008. Deaths below the age of 1 were excluded from the analysis. Time series of frequencies of deaths were based on differences between the day of death and the day of birth. We applied autoregressive integrated moving average modeling with intervention effects both in straight and reverse time series.
RESULTS:
The overall death excess on the day of birth was 13.8%, mainly because of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases (more in women than in men) as well as suicides and accidents (in particular, falls in men). Unexpectedly, we also found an excess of deaths in cancers. An (negative) aftereffect was found in cancers, and (positive) anticipatory effects were found in falls in men.
CONCLUSIONS:
In general, birthdays do not evoke a postponement mechanism but appear to end up in a lethal way more frequently than expected ("anniversary reaction").

PURPOSE:
To examine the relation between the day of death and the day of birth. To determine whether the "death postponement" hypothesis or the "anniversary reaction" hypothesis is more appropriate.
METHODS:
We analyzed data from the Swiss mortality statistics 1969-2008. Deaths below the age of 1 were excluded from the analysis. Time series of frequencies of deaths were based on differences between the day of death and the day of birth. We applied autoregressive integrated moving average modeling with intervention effects both in straight and reverse time series.
RESULTS:
The overall death excess on the day of birth was 13.8%, mainly because of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases (more in women than in men) as well as suicides and accidents (in particular, falls in men). Unexpectedly, we also found an excess of deaths in cancers. An (negative) aftereffect was found in cancers, and (positive) anticipatory effects were found in falls in men.
CONCLUSIONS:
In general, birthdays do not evoke a postponement mechanism but appear to end up in a lethal way more frequently than expected ("anniversary reaction").

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6 citations in Web of Science®
7 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Clinical and Social Psychiatry Zurich West (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:06 Sep 2012 14:53
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:56
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1047-2797
Publisher DOI:10.1016/j.annepidem.2012.04.016
PubMed ID:22658822
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-64447

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