The Developmental Origins of Ageing
Aihie Sayer A., Cooper C.
Interest in the connection between development, growth and ageing is not new. However, recognition of the relevance to human ageing is more recent and has arisen from the growing field of research into the developmental origins of health and disease. Epidemiological evidence has demonstrated strong links between small size at birth and increased mortality and also morbidity from age-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease, types 2 diabetes, sarcopenia and osteoporosis. Understanding the role of developmental influences in ageing is relevant to clinical practice for several reasons. It provides an opportunity for early identification of individuals at risk of accelerated ageing. It also suggests that the window for instituting beneficial interventions should be widened to include all stages of the life course. Furthermore, knowledge of underlying mechanisms at the cellular and molecular level has the potential to inform the development of novel therapeutic agents to minimize the detrimental effects of ageing. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.