An article by Associate Professor Gabrielle Kelly and Cecily Kelleher, regarding the relationship between birthday and death day, was featured in the Irish Times on Tuesday.


According to German psychiatrist Prof Matthias C Angermeyer and colleagues – writing in the ‘Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (1987) – Plato is supposed to have born and died on the same date; so too, the Buddha; and the ragtime pianist “Eubie” Blake died just five days after his 100th birthday.

Is there an association between our dates of birth and death?

Angermeyer et al suggested that either approaching birthdays promote an emotional reaction that motivates individuals to somehow initiate a mechanism that delays their death – “death postponement” – or birthdays represent stressful events, provoking a rise in mortality: a “birthday blues” effect.