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Children undergo rapid growth and development while protective mechanisms are not fully operative (e.g. brain blood barrier in early life). Exposures in early life have also more time to develop from biochemical insults into a clinical manifestation. Therefore, complications in adults often find their origin in risk factors operative in early life. This process, known as programming, is central to the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) concept. Some recently defined patterns of diseases that begin in childhood include metabolic syndrome and cognitive aspects. It is suggested that an adaptive response in the fetus to in utero exposures could result in persistent changes that influence health later in life. Because in utero life as well as early childhood is believed to be a critical time window in programming of diseases later in life, unraveling the connection between early life exposures may help to gain insights in the causes of diseases. Relevant exposures in early life are likely to include maternal nutrition, air pollution and endocrine disrupters. Results of studies on early life exposure and the application of biomarkers indicative of subclinical disease must lead to a better protection of the most vulnerable individuals in society, i.e. new-borns and children. The section welcomes outstanding contributions on factors that drive healthy or unhealthy development or ageing from early life onwards.
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Children and Health welcomes submissions of the following article types: Brief Research Report, Classification, Clinical Trial, Correction, Editorial, General Commentary, Hypothesis and Theory, Methods, Mini Review, Opinion, Original Research, Perspective, Policy Brief, Review, Specialty Grand Challenge, Study Protocol, Systematic Review and Technology and Code.
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