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Stress Response in Older Adults Linked to Birth Weight

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Stress Response in Older Adults Linked to Birth Weight

Inviato da Cybermed

sabato 03 novembre 2007

There appears to be an inverse U-shaped association between birth weight and cortisol concentrations during

psychosocial stress in late adulthood, according to study results published in the November issue of the Journal of

Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, published early online.

"During the past decade it has become increasingly clear that circumstances during the fetal period may have a

substantial impact on susceptibility to several common adult disorders such as cardiovascular disease and depression,"

write Dr. Eero Kajantie, of the National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland, and colleagues. "Life-long programming

of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPAA) is a key candidate in mediating this link."

The researchers examined whether body size at birth is associated with HPAA response to psychosocial stress in late

adulthood in 287 men and women in the Helsinki Birth Cohort who were born between 1934 and 1944.

Salivary cortisol was measured in conjunction with a standardized psychosocial stressor (Trier Social Stress Test).

Plasma cortisol and adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) concentrations were also measured in 215 subjects.

A linear relationship was observed between birth weight and plasma ACTH, whereas there were quadratic relationships

between birth weight and salivary and plasma cortisol.

Peak salivary cortisol concentrations were 12.9 nmol/L in the lowest tertile of birth weight compared with 17.1 nmol/L in

the middle and 14.1 nmol/L in the highest. Corresponding figures for plasma cortisol were 418 nmol/L, 498 nmol/L, and

454 nmol/L, respectively.

"These results reinforce previous suggestions that both hyper- and hypocortisolism may be programmed during the fetal

period and prompt further studies on early life origins of hypocortisolism and associated disorders," Dr. Kajantie and

colleagues conclude.

The researchers note that there's evidence that "people born at term with low birth weight may be more likely to

experience psychosocial stress in middle-age." They point out that hypocortisolism is a feature of disorders such as

posttraumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2007

I find this interesting because I was a low-birth-weight baby. So was my older daughter.



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We were all normal, average sized babies in my family, yet we definitely have some sort of multi generation HPA wierdness going on. Out of step, as usual.


Susan, with a red swollen face, worsening sinus infection after weeks of abx, and another 2.4 midnight serum cortisol.

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Yep -- just a little over 5 pounds.

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6lbs 4oz. What the heck happened!

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I was 7*11. And Justin was about 4-5 pounds, but he was a premie(1 month early), so I guess if he woulda been born when he was supposed to, he probably woulda been a bit bigger.



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On a little different note, but relating to pregnancy, if the kids were born with this and something was developing abnormally in the womb, could that be the cause of me being sick with both kids. Kept down absolutely nothing with Justin. With Jess I kept down more because I took B12 (B6? shots) but was still nauseous all the time.

I had never thought of this before. And probably I was just one of those that pregnancy didn't agree with. But it does make you wonder


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.i dont know the weight, but i was told i was a very small baby.


...my mother always told me she was in labor three days with me and then after delivery she had pneumonia and fever and she had to be packed in ice !!!


..somehow my birth weight got lost in the drama of the delivery......




my first son jon was 7lb 14oz .......thyroid problems

my second son jay was 9lbs..........no known pit/thyroid problems

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