Developmental Origins of Health and Disease

The developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) is a concept proposing that environmental factors acting in the fetal period and during infancy alter the developmental trajectory of the organism, affecting its capacity to respond to the surrounding environment later in life and therefore influencing disease risk throughout the entire life span. Exposure to an adverse nutritional environment, stress, and/or toxic environmental chemicals can all increase the risk of developing conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, immune diseases, neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases, and cancer, among others. It has been proposed that on the basis of its current experiences, the developing organism undergoes adaptive responses to survive in a particular environment. A mismatch between the subsequent predicted and experienced environments challenges the ...

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