But now there's at least some evidence that neglecting your gums can fuck up your heart directly. In an experiment reported earlier this year, researchers infected mice with several types of bacteria that cause gum disease, and then tracked the spread of the bacteria until it reached their hearts. The mice then started showing an increase in risk factors for heart disease, like inflammation and cholesterol. These mice weren't doing anything else that put them at risk for heart disease, like, I don't know, smoking little mice cigarettes or working too hard at their high-stress mice jobs. This suggests that gum-disease bacteria alone might be enough to mess with your heart. So, by all means, start flossing, because it's pretty much the same as strangling the Grim Reaper to death.
Being Born in the Wrong Month
If you're currently hosting a human parasite or two, and you're planning to give birth in the next couple of months, good news! Your babies might live for a ridiculously long time. According to a study done by the University of Chicago, people who have lived to 100 are more likely to have been born in September or October than their shorter-lived relatives.
Halloweenologists initially blamed this on the benevolent influence of skeletons.
Other studies in Austria and Denmark also found a slight increase in lifespan for babies born in the fall months, while in the Southern Hemisphere (where the seasons are flipped) you're likely to live longer if you were born in March, April, or May.
And it's not just a longer life. Fall babies seem to do better overall: babies born in the spring are more likely to suffer from eating disorders, Type 1 diabetes, and schizophrenia. So if you're pregnant and reading this in Australia, disregard the good news from earlier and try to keep your legs closed for another six months or so.
How Does That Work?
Nobody knows for sure why fall babies seem to have it better, but one theory is levels of Vitamin D during pregnancy. People usually get their Vitamin D via sunlight, which means that by the time they give birth, mothers of fall babies have been basking in Vitamin-D goodness for the last six months or so. Spring babies who do the majority of their gestating during the darker months are more likely to have mothers who are low on sun juice, and this might somehow affect their development and long-term health.
Or it could be caused by the anger of an Aztec sun god. I'm keeping my mind open.
Another possible factor is diet. The people in the "lived to 100" study were mostly born in the 1890s, when stuff like refrigeration and food transport wasn't exactly up to today's standards. It makes sense that babies who gestated during the warmer months, when fruits and vegetables were more easily available, might do better than babies whose mothers lived on a more limited winter diet. So if you're one of those people who survives on ramen during the winter because it's too much effort to go out in the cold and buy groceries, think again, or your descendants might die young.
C. Coville's book, One-Star Reviews, is available for pre-order on Amazon right the hell now. She also has a Twitter here and a Tumblr here.
For more from C. Coville, check out 4 Everyday Things That Make Us Way Angrier Than They Should and 5 Well-Intentioned Phrases That Have Been Ruined by Assholes.