Spring Is Here! --- Now, How It
Affects Your Health
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April 3, 2014

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Doctors, Registered Nurses and other members of our
Editorial Board.]




With the birds singing in the trees, the sun making a
welcome appearance in the sky and the temperature
warming up, it’s likely you have a spring in your step.
Springtime is the season for rejuvenation, reinvention, birth
and new beginnings.

The Old English word for the season of Spring was
"Lencten".   Lencten was related to an old West German
word ,"langen-tanz", which means "long days".  

Over time, "Lencten" became the word "Lent", which we
now use to mean the day that occurs 40 days before Easter.
During the 14th century, people began to refer to the season
as "spring", perhaps because they related the season to the
"springing" of green buds from plants.

Spring makes people smile. Spring inspires you to find your
sneakers and renew your gym membership. Springtime is
also associated with a surprising number of health effects –
positive and negative. The season you are born could also
make a big difference - it seems spring babies are happier
and even have a lower risk of suffering conditions like
schizophrenia and Crohn’s disease.

Way beyond the obvious effect that Spring has on your
sensitivity to airborne allergies, the changes on your health
wrought by the coming of Spring can be profound and
lifelong.

Want to know more about the ways spring affects your
health? We’ve looked at the scientific studies to show how
spring can be a positive force for change in your life – and
the health dangers you need to watch out for.

Starting Spring: Losing Sleep with Daylight Saving Time

When the clocks go forward at the beginning of March most
people welcome this sign of advancing spring but resent
losing a precious hour of sleep.  

Moving the clocks forward changes the light cues for setting
our natural cycle – the circadian rhythm – which results in
the internal clock becoming out of synch.

People tend to be more tired and groggy on the Monday
morning following the clock change.

Daylight saving time leads to less sleep and more work-
related injuries, according to a 2009 study from Michigan
State University.

The one hour of lost sleep has an “impact on people’s ability
to stay alert and prevent serious injuries,” say study
authors. They looked at data on injuries submitted to the
Mine Safety and Health Administration between 1983 and
2006.

On average, researchers found 3.6 more injuries on the
Mondays following a switch to daylight saving time, and
2,649 more days of work were lost as a result of those
injuries.

Daylight saving time also seems to trigger an increase in
heart attacks – with disruptions of sleep patterns playing a
part.

A 2012 study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham
shows the Monday and Tuesday following the clock advance
is associated with a 10 percent increase in the risk of having
a heart attack. Sleep deprivation, an alteration in circadian
rhythms, and immune responses may all affect the increased
risk of heart troubles.

Springtime Lifts Depression?


























On a brighter note, more spring sunshine later in the day
reduces the incidence of depression, according to many
experts. A 2012 study from Leiden University, Leiden, The
Netherlands shows concentrations of serum BDNF – a
secreted protein that, when reduced, is linked to depression
– have pronounced seasonal variations, with increasing
concentrations in the spring-summer period.

Studies show that "seasonal affective disorder" (also known
as SAD) is a combination of biological and mood
disturbances that typically occurs in the fall and winter with
remission in spring.

A 2012 study from Virtua Family Medicine Residency, NJ
showed around 5 percent of the population experiences
seasonal affective disorder, with symptoms lasting for
around 40 percent of the year. For people suffering from
SAD, Spring, with its longer, sunnier days, can mean the
start of a happier and less anxious time.

However, some studies have shown that depression can
actually get
worse in spring – according to a 1999 study
from Aker Hospital, Oslo, Norway people suffering from
winter depression often experience a relatively short but
intense worsening of depressive symptoms in Spring.

Spring Coincides with a Suicide Peak

There is disturbing evidence that spring sees a peak in
suicides. A 2010 study from the University of Maryland
School of Medicine, Baltimore documents seasonal spring
peaks in suicide in victims with and without a prior history of
mood disorders.

The researchers looked at monthly rates of suicide in the
Danish Cause of Death Registry from 1970 to 2001 and
found a statistically significant spring peak in suicide.

And a 2009 study from Karolinska University Hospital,
Stockholm, Sweden showed peaks in suicide incidence in the
spring and early summer and a significant peak in males with
a history of depression and in women with a history of
stress-related or neurotic disorder. The peak was more
evident in violent suicide methods.

Why should spring be a trigger for some people with suicidal
thoughts? Experts are not sure. Some relate suicide risk to
air pollen counts – a 2013 study from the National Centre for
Register-based Research, Aarhus University, Denmark links
suicides with pollen exposure, leading to the hypothesis that
allergens may act as immune triggers to set suicide in
motion.  

Needless to say, this kind of broad hypothesis should no be
taken as fact ---it cannot be verified without further research.

Does Being Born in Spring Affect Your Risk of Disease?

According to research, spring babies are at greater risk of a
number of ailments including asthma, schizophrenia, autism,
multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. But, on the other
hand, being born in spring could make you a happier person.

Experts say men with
Crohn's disease are more likely to have
been born in the months of April through June, according to
a 2014 study from the University of Manitoba, Canada.
Multiple sclerosis patients were more often born in March,
April, May and June, according to a 1992 study from the
California School of Professional Psychology, Fresno.

Spring Babies Born “Happier” but at Risk of Mental Health
Condition

The time you were born affects your health throughout your
life, scientists have learned.  

More men with schizophrenia are born in the spring (with a
peak in the month of May) than in fall, according to a 2006
study from the University "La Sapienza" of Rome, Italy.

A 1998 report from the University of Siena, Italy also
demonstrated that seasonal birth may play a role in the
development of mental disorders – researchers noted a 10
percent increase in people suffering from schizophrenia who
were born in the spring, and a significant increase in bipolar
disorders, major depressive disorder, and seasonal affective
disorder.

And eight out of every 100 people born between March and
June had anorexia, compared with 7 percent of people
without anorexia – a 15 percent increase in risk, according
to researchers in 2011 from the Wellcome Trust Center for
Human Genetics.

People Born in May Are Happier?

Despite this data, some experts believe being born in spring
could actually make you happier overall – a 2012 study from
Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical
Center Utrecht, The Netherlands found the season of birth
influenced serotonin levels, with a May birth producing the
best levels of serotonin in the subjects.

Why should the season of birth affect people later in life?

It is difficult to say, as countless variables could be affecting
the health outcomes. For example, the amount of sunshine
the mother is exposed to during pregnancy – which triggers
the production of
vitamin D - could make a difference, as
could exposure to infectious agents or receiving more or less
antibiotics during pregnancy for seasonal ailments.



Related:
Top 10 Foods That Fight Depression
Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Illness
Foods That Fight Schizophrenia

Salmon Health Benefits/ Fish Oil /Top 10 Foods That Fight
Anemia / How Much Is Too Much Salt? /Sugar-The Disease
Connection / Are Diet Sodas Bad for Your Health? / Ideal
Breakfast for Diabetics / Ideal Breakfast for Arthritis
/
Healing Foods Links /  Foods That Shrink Your Waist /
Foods That Lower Cholesterol/ VLDL-The Other Cholesterol/
Foods That Reduce Blood Pressure

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