To remind us that at least 800 million people are starving, something that that should not happen in the developed world in the twenty-first century except in extreme diets. In relation to this, in it is worth highlighting the negative effects of hunger on health, especially in children. A report has now been published that discusses how the effects of hunger on fetuses can cause health problems in adulthood and offspring (see HERE). 

Adverse environmental conditions affect fetal development 

Food-seeking behaviour may have a pre-birth origin. Maternal-fetal interaction around mealtimes could constitute an endocrine-mediated communication, in the interests of maintaining optimal intrauterine conditions. Further research is warranted to explore this phenomenon and the potential influence of feeding on the temporal organisation of fetal activity in relation to growth.

Extensive epidemiologic studies have suggested that adult disease risk is associated with adverse environmental conditions early in development. Although the mechanisms behind these relationships are unclear, an involvement of epigenetic dysregulation has been hypothesized. Here we show that individuals who were prenatally exposed to famine during the Dutch Hunger Winter in 1944-45 had, 6 decades later, less DNA methylation of the imprinted IGF2 gene compared with their unexposed, same-sex siblings (read peer review article Differences associated with prenatal exposure to famine in human)

Female babies whose mothers were starved during the first three months of pregnancy were of normal weight at birth but, intriguingly, 50 years later and had children who were themselves smaller in the next generation.


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