Early-life experience linked to chronic diseases later in life

Jul 14, 2009

People's early-life experience sticks with them into adulthood and may render them more susceptible to many of the chronic diseases of aging, according to a new UBC study.

A team led by UBC researchers Gregory Miller and Michael Kobor performed genome-wide profiling in 103 healthy adults aged 25-40 years.

Those who participated in the study were either low or high in early-life socioeconomic circumstances related to income, education and occupation during the first five years of life. But the two groups were similar in socioeconomic status (SES) at the time the genome assessment was performed and also had similar lifestyle practices like smoking and drinking habits.

Their study, to be published in this week's , shows that among subjects with low early-life socioeconomic circumstances, there was evidence that genes involved with inflammation were selectively "switched-on" at some point. Researchers believe this is because the cells of low-SES individuals were not effectively responding to a hormone called that usually controls inflammation.

"We've identified some 'biologic residue' of people's early-life experience that sticks with them into ," says Miller, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and a member of the Brain Research Centre at UBC Hospital.

"The study suggests that experiences get under the skin," says Kobor, an assistant professor in the UBC Department of Medical Genetics and a scientist at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics at the Child & Family Research Institute.

This pattern of responses might contribute to the higher rates of infectious, respiratory, and cardiovascular diseases as well as some forms of cancer among people who grow up in low-SES households, according to the interdisciplinary research team that also includes scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles.

"It seems to be the case that if people are raised in a low socioeconomic family, their immune cells are constantly vigilant for threats from the environment," says Miller. "This is likely to have consequences for their risk for late-life ."

Source: University of British Columbia (news : web)

Explore further: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Income, education, important factors in heart disease risk

Jun 16, 2009

Doctors who ignore the socioeconomic status of patients when evaluating their risk for heart disease are missing a crucial element that might result in inadequate treatment, according to a University of Rochester Medical ...

Recommended for you

AMA examines economic impact of physicians

10 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Physicians who mainly engage in patient care contribute a total of $1.6 trillion in economic output, according to the American Medical Association (AMA)'s Economic Impact Study.

Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds

10 hours ago

Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her ...

How to keep your fitness goals on track

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The New Year's resolutions many made to get fit have stalled by now. And one expert thinks that's because many people set their goals too high.

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.