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Messinger

The fetal origins of adult disease

“David Barker pioneered the idea that the 20th century epidemic of coronary heart disease in Western countries might have originated in fetal life.1Paradoxically, the epidemic coincided with improved standards of living and nutrition, yet in Britain its greatest impact was in the most deprived areas. Barker observed that early in the 20th century these areas had the highest rates of neonatal mortality and by inference the highest rates of low birth weight. He postulated that impaired fetal growth might have predisposed the survivors to heart disease in later life.”

BMJ 2001;322:375-376 ( 17 February )

Messinger

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