How being born in January can increase your risk for diabetes
One of the wonderful aspects of living in the age of Big Data is the way scientists are able to discover new, previously undiscovered patterns in gigantic datasets. A team at Columbia University has studied the health records of over ten million people across three different countries and discovered some compelling links between a person's lifetime disease risk and the month they were born in.
Numerous researchers have tackled the strangely interesting correlations between birth month and disease risk over the years. The true goal of this research is to fundamentally understand what specific seasonal and environmental factors faced by a mother during pregnancy can affect an offspring's lifelong susceptibility to certain disease.
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These links are undeniably tricky to study. A conventional medical study involving groups of subjects would not be especially ethical, after all, we couldn't exactly withhold a certain environmental factor from a child intentionally to see if it increases their risk of diabetes.
Examining health records on the other hand leaves one with the eternal "correlation is not causation" problem. A team at Columbia University has come at this problem by examining giant volumes of data with a greatly targeted precision and 21st century computing power.
Following on from a 2015 study that concentrated on nearly 2 million people in New York City, the new study looked at the health records of 10.5 million people from five different climates in the Unit Continue reading