Developmental programming is thought to be a source of many adult diseases, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The notion that early life experiences, including nutrient transfer from the mother in utero, can anticipate future environments and also shape the risk of later adult diseases has been termed the predictive adaptive response, or PAR.
This relationship first came to light when Barker documented a curious association between birth weight and adult cardiac events in British men. Babies born small had a higher risk of chronic inflammatory diseases as adults. These small babies have been described as adopting a “thrifty phenotype.” That is, nutrient deprivation as a fetus is thought to have shaped the developmental trajectory in these individuals. This shift results in reduced expenditure on muscle and increased energy storage as fat.
In keeping with the last two weeks, there will be no writing project. Instead, find examples from the internet how early life experiences change the body’s development in ways that cause disease? Could these changes also be adaptive, or not? (Try using the search terms “Predictive Adaptive Response” and or “Developmental Origin of Health and Disease” or DOHAD)
Watch You Tube Video on Epigenetics and Fetal Programming:
Emergency Physician, Educator, Researcher, interested in the microbiome, evolution, and medicine