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Keywords:

  • time-series;
  • congenital malformations;
  • birth defects;
  • periodicity;
  • seasonality;
  • geophysical rhythm

Abstract

BACKGROUND Congenital malformations (CMs) are a leading cause of infant disability. Geophysical patterns such as 2-year, yearly, half-year, 3-month, and lunar cycles regulate much of the temporal biology of all life on Earth and may affect birth and birth outcomes in humans. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate and compare trends and periodicity in total births and CM conceptions in two Israeli populations. METHODS Poisson nonlinear models (polynomial) were applied to study and compare trends and geophysical periodicity cycles of weekly births and weekly prevalence rate of CM (CMPR), in a time-series design of conception date within and between Jews and Muslims. The population included all live births and stillbirths (n = 823,966) and CM (three anatomic systems, eight CM groups [n = 2193]) in Israel during 2000 to 2006. Data were obtained from the Ministry of Health. RESULTS We describe the trend and periodicity cycles for total birth conceptions. Of eight groups of CM, periodicity cycles were statistically significant in four CM groups for either Jews or Muslims. Lunar month and biennial periodicity cycles not previously investigated in the literature were found to be statistically significant. Biennial cycle was significant in total births (Jews and Muslims) and syndactyly (Muslims), whereas lunar month cycle was significant in total births (Muslims) and atresia of small intestine (Jews). CONCLUSION We encourage others to use the method we describe as an important tool to investigate the effects of different geophysical cycles on human health and pregnancy outcomes, especially CM, and to compare between populations. Birth Defects Research (Part A) 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.