Telomere Length, a Longevity Measure, May Be Determined Early in Life (EN eSPAñOL)
A NEW RESEARCH STUDY FINDS THAT TELOMERES SHORTEN MOST RAPIDLY DURING EARLY CHILDHOOD, REPLICATING, FOR THE FIRST TIME, STUDIES DONE IN ANIMAL MODELS
Telomeres are protective caps on DNA that shorten as we grow older. Now, one of the first studies to examine telomere length (TL) in childhood finds that the initial setting of TL during prenatal development and in the first years of life may determine one’s TL throughout childhood and potentially even into adulthood or older age. The study also finds that TL decreases most rapidly from birth to age 3, followed by a period of maintenance into the pre-puberty period, although it was sometimes seen to lengthen.
Telomere dynamics across the early life course: Findings from a longitudinal study in children, Psychoneuroendocrinology, Volume 129, 2021, 105270, ISSN 0306-4530, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2021.105270. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030645302100144X)
A methodological pipeline to generate an epigenetic marker of prenatal exposure to air pollution indicators
The field of environmental health has lacked an accessible biomarker to identify newborns at elevated risk as a result of a toxic prenatal exposure, one that is feasible in a small sample of DNA in cord blood or in a bloodspot. Such a biomarker could be used to identify highly exposed newborns at increased risk of adverse outcomes, such as neurodevelopmental problems and other chronic illness, in order to initiate early interventions.
Potential health benefits of sustained air quality improvements in New York City: A simulation based on air pollution levels during the COVID-19 shutdown
New York City (NYC) experienced a sharp decline in air pollution during the COVID-19 shutdown period (March 15, 2020 to May 15, 2020)-albeit at high social and economic costs. It provided a unique opportunity to simulate a scenario in which the city-wide air quality improvement during the shutdown were sustained over the five-year period, 2021 through 2025, allowing us to estimate the potential public health benefits to children and adults and their associated economic benefits. We focused on fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and modeled potential future health benefits to children and adults. The analysis considered outcomes in children that have not generally been accounted for in clean air benefits assessments, including preterm birth, term low birthweight, infant mortality, child asthma incidence, child asthma hospital admissions and emergency department visits, autism spectrum disorder, as well as adult mortality.
Although short-duration elevated exposures (peak exposures) to pollutants may trigger adverse acute effects, epidemiological studies to understand their influence on different health effects are hampered by lack of methods for objectively identifying peaks. Secondhand smoke from cigarettes (SHS) in the residential environment can lead to peak exposures. The aim of this study was to explore whether peaks in continuous PM2.5 data can indicate SHS exposure. A total of 41 children (21 with and 20 without SHS exposure based on self-report) from 28 families in New York City (NY, USA) were recruited. Both personal and residential continuous PM2.5 monitoring were performed for five consecutive days using MicroPEM sensors (RTI International, USA).
Prenatal air pollution exposure and neurodevelopment: A review and blueprint for a harmonized approach within ECHO
Air pollution exposure is ubiquitous with demonstrated effects on morbidity and mortality. A growing literature suggests that prenatal air pollution exposure impacts neurodevelopment. We posit that the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program will provide unique opportunities to fill critical knowledge gaps given the wide spatial and temporal variability of ECHO participants.
The associations between prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon metabolites, umbilical cord blood mitochondrial DNA copy number, and children's neurobehavioral development
Exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) during pregnancy is a risk factor for adverse neurobehavioral development outcomes. Mitochondrial DNA are sensitive to environmental toxicants due to the limited ability of repairing. The change of mitochondrial DNA copy number (mtDNAcn) might be a biologically mechanism linking PAH exposure and children's neurobehavioral impairment. Our aims are to explore whether PAH metabolites in maternal urine were associated with children's neurobehavioral development at 2 years old and umbilical cord blood mtDNAcn, and whether mtDNAcn was a mediator of PAH-related neurobehavioral development.
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is causing substantial morbidity and mortality, straining health care systems, shutting down economies, and closing school districts. While it is a priority to mitigate its immediate impact, we want to call attention to the pandemic's longer-term effect on children's health: COVID-19, via these school closures, may exacerbate the epidemic of childhood obesity and increase disparities in obesity risk.
Citation: Rundle AG, Park Y, Herbstman JB, Kinsey EW, Wang YC. COVID-19 Related School Closings and Risk of Weight Gain Among Children. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2020 Mar 30. doi: 10.1002/oby.22813.
Towards a Fuller Assessment of Benefits to Children's Health of Reducing Air Pollution and Mitigating Climate Change Due to Fossil Fuel Combustion
Perinatal phthalates exposure decreases ﬁne-motor functions in 11-year-old girls: Results from weighted Quantile sum regression
Phthalates are a group of high production chemicals, generally used as plasticizers and odor enhancers. Phthalates cross the blood-placenta barrier and are associated with deficits in cognitive functions and behavior problems in offspring. We previously reported sex-specific associations with motor function when phthalates are considered singly. Because exposure to phthalates usually occurs as mixtures, here we assess these associations between a mixture of phthalates and motor function at age 11 years.
A powerful and flexible weighted distance-based method incorporating interactions between DNA methylation and environmental factors on health outcomes.
Prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons modifies the effects of early life stress on attention and Thought Problems in late childhood
Abstract: Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were among various persistent organic pollutants suspected to have been released during the collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) on 9/11/2001. Evidence suggests that PFAS may have cardiometabolic effects, including alterations in lipid profiles. This study evaluated the association between cord blood PFAS and lipids in a population prenatally exposed to the WTC disaster.
Citation: Miranda J Spratlen, Frederica P Perera, Sally Ann Lederman, Morgan Robinson, Kurunthachalam Kannan, Julie Herbstman, Leonardo Trasande, The Association Between Perfluoroalkyl Substances and Lipids in Cord Blood, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 105, Issue 1, January 2020, Pages 43–54, https://doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgz024
Towards a Fuller Assessment of the Economic Benefits of Reducing Air Pollution From Fossil Fuel Combustion: Per-case Monetary Estimates for Children's Health Outcomes
On June 4, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in Juliana v. United States to determine whether the case will proceed to trial in district court in Oregon. Nearly 4 years ago, 21 children and adolescents between 8 and 19 years of age, including Kelsey Juliana from Oregon, filed suit against the federal government, charging that the government’s inaction on addressing climate change violated their constitutional right to life, liberty, and property.1 To date, no such lawsuit against the federal government has succeeded in the United States, despite a sharp increase in the number of similar suits filed by young people, municipalities, and state governments. Indeed, none of these lawsuits has gone to trial. As the Juliana plaintiffs argue — and we agree — climate change is the greatest public health emergency of our time and is particularly harmful to fetuses, infants, children, and adolescents.