Winter Kills: A Review of the Evidence

"Birth Seasonality in Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder and Stillbirths" by Fuller E. Torrey et al. in Schizophrenia Research, 1996. "Data were obtained on 126,987 patients who had been born between 1925 and 1975 and hospitalized in a state psychiatric hospital at some time.... Overall results show that bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder both have an excess of winter births, similar to that found in schizophrenia."


"Eating Style in Seasonal Affective Disorder: Who Will Gain Weight in Winter?" by Kurt Krauchi et al. in Comprehensive Psychiatry, 1997. "Patients with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) selectively eat more carbohydrates (CHO), particularly sweets but also starch-rich foods, during their depression in winter. The Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire and the modified Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire were administered to 84 female SAD patients, 38 healthy female controls, and 42 female medical students to determine their eating style. SADs showed higher values for 'emotional' (EMOT) eating than the students, who had higher values than the controls."

"Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa in Winter Depression: Lifetime Rates in a Clinical Sample" by Nelson P. Gruber et al. in Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, 1996. "It is suggested that winter depression or some vulnerability associated with it predisposes persons to the development of an eating disorder, especially bulimia nervosa."

"Circadian Influences and Possible Triggers of Sudden Cardiac Death" by Stefan N. Willich in Sport Science Review, 1995. "Summarizes studies suggesting an important role of triggering in the causation of sudden cardiac death (SCD) by circadian influences and other external events.... Weekly and seasonal patterns indicate peaks on Mondays and during the winter months. These observations suggest that disease onset may be precipitated by identifiable factors."

"Can Death Be Postponed? The Death-Dip Phenomenon in Psychiatric Patients" by Teresa Greiner et al. in Omega: Journal of Death & Dying, 1989-90. "Explored the 'death-dip phenomenon,' the previously reported decrease in deaths occurring before significant dates, with a cohort of 4,800 psychiatric patients. No death-dip phenomenon was identified in any group, with any grouping of cause by date. There was a significant increase in accidental deaths preceding birthdays. There was a suggestion that suicide deaths increased just before Christmas. Total deaths increased during the winter quarter; all other findings were negative."

"Suicide Attempts in Children and Adolescents" by Barry D. Garfinkel et al. in American Journal of Psychiatry, 1982. "In a review of pediatric-hospital emergency-room admissions over seven years, 505 6- to 21-year-olds who had attempted suicide were identified. There were three times as many girls as boys, and the boys were significantly younger. The suicide attempts usually occurred in the winter, after school or in the evening, at home with someone nearby, and by drug overdose."

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