May 9, 2012

BSSR Lecture: Environments, Inflammation, Transgenerational Perpetuation of Disparities in Health

Speaker - Thomas McDade, PhD

Inflammation is an important part of human immune defenses against infectious disease, but recent research has implicated dysregulated inflammation in the pathophysiology of a wide range of chronic degenerative diseases, as well as adverse birth outcomes. Current understandings of the links between inflammation and disease are based primarily on research in post- epidemiologic transition populations with high levels of overweight/obesity, and low levels of infectious exposures.

This presentation applies a populations- based, developmental, ecological framework to the study of inflammation in humans, and suggests that environments in infancy are critical to defining how inflammation is regulated in adulthood. The impact of early environments in turn modifies responsiveness to inflammatory stressors later in life, pointing toward a potentially important mechanism in the intergenerational transmission of disparities in health.

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