"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns;there are things we know we know.We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns-the ones we don't know we don't know."
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Mother's diet during pregnancy alters baby's DNA
By James GallagherHealth reporter, BBC News Can a baby predict the environment it will be born into?
diet during pregnancy can alter the DNA of her child and increase the risk of
obesity, according to researchers.
to be published in the journal Diabetes, showed that eating low levels of
carbohydrate changed bits of DNA.
showed children with these changes were fatter.
Heart Foundation called for better nutritional and lifestyle support for women.
thought that a developing baby tries to predict the environment it will be born
into, taking cues from its mother and adjusting its DNA.
animals have shown that changes in diet can alter the function of genes - known
as epigenetic change.
It is a
growing field trying to understand how the environment interacts with genes.
study, the researchers took samples from the umbilical cord and looked for
that mothers with early pregnancy diets low in carbohydrates, such as sugars
and starch, had children with these markers.
showed a strong link between those same markers and a child's obesity at ages
six and nine.
Keith Godfrey, who is from the University of Southampton and led the international
study, told the BBC: "What is surprising is that it explains a quarter of
the difference in the fatness of children six to nine years later."
says the effect was "considerably greater" than that of birth weight
and did not depend on how thin or fat the mother was.
were noticed in the RXRA gene. This makes a receptor for vitamin A, which is
involved in the way cells process fat.
Godfrey said: "It is both a fascinating and potentially important piece of
women who become pregnant get advice about diet, but it is not always high up
the agenda of health professionals.
research suggests women should follow the advice as it may have a long term
influence on the baby's health after it is born."
Mark Hanson, of the British Heart Foundation, said: "This study provides
compelling evidence that epigenetic changes, at least in part, explain the link
between a poor start to life and later disease risk.
strengthens the case for all women of reproductive age having greater access to
nutritional, education and lifestyle support to improve the health of the next
generation, and to reduce the risk of the conditions such as diabetes and heart
disease, which often follow obesity."