Death Rates Spike on Birthdays

But birthday suicides only increase among men

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 11, 2012 7:16 PM CDT

(Newser) – On your next birthday, plan something simple—like surviving the rest of the day. Researchers who analyzed more than two million people for 40 years found that death by fall, stroke, heart attack, and suicide spiked on birthdays, the Telegraph reports. "Birthdays end lethally more frequently than might be expected," says Dr Vladeta Ajdacic-Gross, who notes that the risk increases with age. For those over 60, it rises 14%.

One psychologist sees two camps: those who argue that birthday over-eating kills the elderly, and those who say people tend to stay alive until their birthday. Then "you think, 'That's it, I've had enough, I'm out of here.'" One professor in Britain notes that birthday suicides only increase among men: "Perhaps men are more likely to make a statement about their unhappiness when they think people will be taking more notice of them."

An innocent cake, or a killer?
An innocent cake, or a killer?   (Shutterstock)
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