About Careers Internship MedBlog Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Prenatal Stress Linked to Babies' Health in War Zones

by Bidita Debnath on February 4, 2016 at 2:31 AM
Font : A-A+

Prenatal Stress Linked to Babies' Health in War Zones

Children from war-torn areas of the globe are affected by trauma even before they are born, stated a recent study at University of Florida.

To gather their results, researchers went to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a region routinely called "the worst place in the world" to be a woman, said Darlene A. Kertes, the study's lead author and an assistant professor in UF's department of psychology. Women in this unstable region are routinely the target of rape and other war-related traumas.

Advertisement


"Our research shows that stressful life experiences affect our bodies all the way down to our genes," said Kertes, who also is affiliated with the University of Florida Genetics Institute. The study was published in the January/February issue of Child Development, the flagship journal for the Society for Research in Child Development. The results showed that mothers' stressful life experiences were linked with epigenetic markers in key genes that regulate the body's response to stress, in both mothers and newborns.

"The study is one of the first of its kind to be conducted in a developing country," Kertes said. "Most information to date about effects of stress and trauma on prenatal development has been gathered in a Western context."
Advertisement

Samples of umbilical cord blood, placenta and the mothers' blood were collected at birth and tested for impacts of war trauma and chronic stress. The researchers looked at DNA methylation, an epigenetic process that makes genes more or less able to respond to biochemical signals in the body.

During pregnancy, a mother's bodily responses to stress are passed onto the fetus, affecting a child's brain development, birth weight and functioning of the children's own HPA axis even after they are born. The researchers looked at the babies' birth weight as an indicator of children's overall development. They found that stress-linked DNA methylation differences predicted lower birth weight.

"The stress exposure affected the maternal and fetal tissues differently, which shows that the impact of stress differs depending on an individual's life phase," Kertes said, adding that stress experienced at very young ages affects the way the body responds to stress throughout life.

This is the first time researchers have documented stress effects, either pre- or postnatal, on methylation of a gene called CRH in humans. CRH makes a hormone that triggers the body's stress response. The study also confirmed stress effects on several other genes known to be involved in the stress response.

Kertes and her colleagues have started to examine the longer term effects of stress on child development in conflict-ridden regions. She emphasized that traumatic events can also have cross-generational impacts. "War and conflict do not just impact the health and well-being for people who experience it directly," she said. "It can potentially have long-term consequences for future generations."

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
What's New on Medindia
Test Your Knowledge About Chromosomes?
Eating During Sunlight Hours Minimizes Mood Vulnerabilities
Know More About the Digestive System
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
Date
Category
Advertisement
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Palpitations And Arrhythmias Stress Relief Through Alternative Medicine Stress and the Gender Divide Andropause / Male Menopause Pregnancy and Antenatal Care Heart Attack- Lifestyle Risks Is Your Man Moody? Tired All The Time Women More Prone to Road Rage Quiz on Weight Loss 

Most Popular on Medindia

Daily Calorie Requirements Hearing Loss Calculator Blood - Sugar Chart Iron Intake Calculator Blood Donation - Recipients Vent Forte (Theophylline) Color Blindness Calculator Drug - Food Interactions Diaphragmatic Hernia Calculate Ideal Weight for Infants
This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
×

Prenatal Stress Linked to Babies' Health in War Zones Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests