Background: The rapidly growing research field of developmental programming of health and disease risk investigates the early life origins of individual vulnerability for common, complex disorders that confer a major burden of disease. Objectives: The present article introduces the concept of developmental programming of disease vulnerability and summarizes studies on the mental and physical health consequences of exposure to childhood trauma and prenatal stress. Biological mechanisms that mediate disease risk after early life stress are discussed. The possibility of transgenerational transmission of effects of childhood trauma in exposed women to their children and potential mechanisms of this transmission are also presented. Conclusion: A substantial number of studies show associations between early life stress and risk for mental and somatic diseases in later life. The underlying mechanisms are currently being studied at the molecular and epigenetic level. Potentially, these findings will allow unprecedented opportunities to improve the precision of current clinical diagnostic tools and the success of interventions. However, there is currently a lack of translation of research findings related to developmental programming to clinical applications.
|Translated title of the contribution||Early-life stress and vulnerability for disease in later life|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Bundesgesundheitsblatt - Gesundheitsforschung - Gesundheitsschutz|
|State||Published - Oct 1 2016|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health