Friday, June 29, 2007

Birthday blues

An intriguing study suggests that nearly half of us die within three months of our last birthday.

Phillip Kunz, a sociologist at Brigham Young University, Utah, USA, took a random sample of 747 obituaries published in Salt Lake City, Utah, during one year, and checked the dates of death against the birthdays of all the deceased. 46 per cent of the deaths came within three months after a birthday, 31 per cent more during the next three months, but only 8 per cent during the three months preceding a birthday.

What do birthdays have to do with dying? People look forward to birthdays. But the period following a birthday can produce a let-down that leads to depression and loss of the will to live.