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Thread: Epigenetics: "Fetal Programming"

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    Post Epigenetics: "Fetal Programming"

    "Epigenetics may ... help explain how the seeds of many adult diseases may be planted during fetal life. Studies suggest that the nutrition a fetus receives--as indicated by birth weight--might influence the risk of adult-onset diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and some cancers. The basis for such 'fetal programming' has been largely an enigma, but epigenetics may be key.... There is no doubt that in the case of the brown or yellow mice, the 'you are what your mom ate' phenomenon reflects just such epigenetic influences.... Duke scientists fed female mice dietary supplements of vitamin B12, folic acid, betaine and choline just before and throughout their pregnancies. Offspring of mice eating a regular diet had yellowish fur; pups of the supplemented mothers, although genetically identical to the yellow mice, were brown."

    Ten Principles of Programming

    (From Life in the Womb: The Origin of Health and Disease by Peter W. Nathanielsz, M.D., Ph.D.)

    1.) During development, there are critical periods of vulnerability to "suboptimal" conditions. Vulnerable periods occur at different times for different tissues. Cells dividing rapidly are at greatest risk.

    2.) Programming has permanent effects that alter responses in later life and can modify susceptibility to disease.

    3.) Fetal development is activity dependent. Normal development is dependent on continuing normal activity. Each phase of development provides required conditions to subsequent development.

    4.) Programming involves structural changes to important organs.

    5.) The placenta plays a key role in programming.

    6.) The developing baby will attempt to compensate for deficiencies in the womb. But that compensation carries a price in later life.

    7.) Attempts made after birth to reverse the consequences of programming might have their own unwanted consequences.

    8.) Fetal cellular mechanisms often differ from adult processes.

    9.) The effects of programming might pass across generations by mechanisms that do not involve changes in the genes.

    10.) Programming often has different effects in males and females.


    http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...2/ai_111932590
    http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases.../womb.hrs.html

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    Post Re: "Fetal Programming"

    Would it be possible to manipulate this programming.

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    Post Re: "Fetal Programming"

    Of course it is - a stable environment and healthy food, while the child is developing unborn.

    Listening to loud music, having stress and taking drugs (two glasses of wine can - theoretically (if the mother does that in a critical phase for the child's brain) - cause a nerve-damage for live) should harm intensively.
    This has been proven with mice. If a the maternal animal is under stress, the offspring will be of anxious nature. If there is no stress, the new mice will be more outgoing and exploring.

    It may be even usefull for mice, since they adapt themselves to the ongoing situation by this pattern (this difference of usability is just my theory).

    The programming in itself has been alleged to work similar in humans, or even much more severely than in such animals. Humans of today aren't born into that much different environments. Things like the ability to amass fat or immoderately anxiety are of no more use for them.
    Last edited by Gareth; Tuesday, September 14th, 2004 at 08:41 PM.

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    Post Re: "Fetal Programming"

    If a pregnant woman exercised would this technically make the baby strong?

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    Post Re: "Fetal Programming"

    10.) Programming often has different effects in males and females.
    Interesting.

    In terms of behaviour and cognition, the far most important prenatal event appears to be exposure to androgens (i.e. testosterone) and other hormones(estrogen) in utero, which, although occasionally perceived as an environmental influence, is a process mediated by genetic factors.

    Perhaps the above quote pertains to this element specifically, as opposed to other, more clearly defined, environmental effects.

    If a pregnant woman exercised would this technically make the baby strong?
    No.

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    Post Re: "Fetal Programming"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tore
    No.
    The Romans believed it did.

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    Post Re: "Fetal Programming"

    The Romans believed it did.
    ...whereas modern science does not.

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    Post Re: "Fetal Programming"

    Quote Originally Posted by Grimr
    If a pregnant woman exercised would this technically make the baby strong?
    I belive that if an woman are used to work out and have her body well adapted and shaped then the children would be much probable to be strong as well if she selected the right male.

    But I do not believe that if the woman exercised only during the pregnacy would make the baby stronger, because on that time the genetic codes were already transported from male to female and defined to would the fetus would be programmed!

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    Post Re: "Fetal Programming"

    Quote Originally Posted by Bischöff
    I belive that if an woman are used to work out and have her body well adapted and shaped then the children would be much probable to be strong as well if she selected the right male.

    But I do not believe that if the woman exercised only during the pregnacy would make the baby stronger, because on that time the genetic codes were already transported from male to female and defined to would the fetus would be programmed!

    How would physical exercise influence which genes are found in the egg that is fertilized?

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    Post Re: "Fetal Programming"

    Quote Originally Posted by Gareth
    This has been proven with mice. If a the maternal animal is under stress, the offspring will be of anxious nature. If there is no stress, the new mice will be more outgoing and exploring.
    Has the above theory been tested on humans?

    I ask because that seems to have been the case with my brother. Our mother was suffering a severe, undiagnosed case of hypothyroidism (Hashimoto's disease), before and during my brother's pregnancy, that left her severely stressed, hormonally unbalanced, depressed and nearly suicidal.

    I have always been curious if my mother's condition was a contributing factor in my brother's emotional/mental development. Although he is extremely bright, social and outgoing, he has a very short attention span, dislexia, mood swings and suffers from deep bouts of depression..with an explosive temper.

    I was born after my mother was diagnosed and treated, and her pregnancy with me was "a very happy time"... Since she was on medication that regulated her thyroid levels, she did not endure the same amounts of stress and depression as she had when pregnant with my brother. I turned out docile, friendly, sensitive, loving and more intelligent then my brother.

    I don't know much about Epigenetics, but I personally agree that environment affects development.

    Even though my brother and I are from the same woman, the environment in which we developed, fetally, was the determining factor for our emotional/mental development...Or atleast that's how it appears to be.
    "Nature! We are surrounded and embraced by her:
    powerless to separate ourselves from her, and powerless to penetrate beyond her.

    Without asking, or warning, she snatches us up into her circling dance, and whirls us on until we are tired, and drop from her arms." - Goethe

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