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Ann Hum Biol. 2012 Sep;39(5):335-41. doi: 10.3109/03014460.2012.712717. Epub 2012 Oct 4.

Human growth and chronic disease: a memorial to Jim Tanner.

Author information

1
Medical School, University of Southampton, UK. djpbarker@gmail.com

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Memorial to Jim Tanner.

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the links between early growth and chronic disease in later life.

METHODS:

Literature review.

RESULTS:

There is now a developmental model for the origins of chronic disease in which the causes to be identified are linked to normal variations in feto-placental, infant and childhood growth and development. These variations lead to variations in the supply of nutrients to the baby that permanently alters gene expression, a process known as 'programming'.

CONCLUSIONS:

Variations in the processes of development programme the function of a few key systems that are linked to chronic disease-the immune system, anti-oxidant defences, inflammatory responses, the number and quality of stem cells, neuro-endocrine settings and the balance of the autonomic nervous system. There is not a separate cause for each different disease. Which chronic disease originates during development may depend more on timing than on qualitative differences in exposures to external influences.

PMID:
23035700
DOI:
10.3109/03014460.2012.712717
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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