Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Pediatr Res. 2004 May;55(5):894-7. Epub 2004 Feb 5.

Report on the 2nd World Congress on Fetal Origins of Adult Disease, Brighton, U.K., June 7-10, 2003.

Author information

Centre for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, University of Southampton, Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton, S016 5YA, UK.


In 1989, reports suggested that the fetal environment, as reflected in birth size, was related to the risk of noncommunicable diseases in adult life. This association was first described for coronary heart disease but rapidly extended to include type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and metabolic and endocrine homeostasis. This led to the development of the fetal origins of adult disease paradigm, which resulted in a refocusing of research effort over the next 10 y to consider the lifelong consequences of perinatal influences on chronic diseases. Previously, perinatal influences had largely been seen in terms of teratogenic effects or acute birth injury rather than whether trajectories and responses made during early development had lifelong consequences. Indeed, in developmental biology, it is widely recognized that adaptive plastic responses during early development often have consequences for function in later adulthood. Although the relative importance of this newly recognized set of phenomena to the burden of human disease has been controversial, the research precipitated by those early observations has confirmed their robustness and started to provide a mechanistic basis to this biology. Two world congresses have been held to review progress in this research. Both have been characterized by a unique multidisciplinary attendance ranging from molecular, experimental, and developmental biologists to epidemiologists and health economists.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group
    Loading ...
    Support Center