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Surprising Science

Winter Babies at Higher Risk

People born in winter months are at greater risk of neurological disorders, including schizophrenia. We’re now starting to understand the reasons behind this phenomenon.

The idea that people and animals will act in certain ways based on what time of the year they were born is known as seasonal imprinting. This phenomeon has previously been directly observed in non-mammals, and there’s lots of indirect evidence to support it in mammals, such as the increase in neurological disorders suffered by people born in winter months. But new research by scientists at Vanderbilt has provided the first direct observation of seasonal imprinting in mammals, and it provides the first clear biological explanation for what’s going on in humans.


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