Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Childhood Infections Stunt Growth, Shorten Life

Date:
December 27, 2005
Source:
University of Southern California
Summary:
Based on analysis of public health records of 18th and 19th century Europeans, USC gerontologists propose that high rates of childhood infection compromise lifespan and height even in healthy survivors.

Records from four European countries show that, on average, survivors of generations with rampant childhood infection - measured by cohort mortality rates at young ages - were shorter and died sooner than counterparts from generations with less childhood disease.

Related Articles


Crimmins and Finch propose that even when they grew into apparently healthy adults, survivors of high-infection generations carried a heavier lifetime burden of inflammation. This in turn accelerated the progress of cardiovascular disease.

The authors also cited contemporary studies showing that respiratory infections, childhood diarrhea, dysentery and other common infectious diseases reduce growth.

When rates of infection dropped due to improved public health practices, adult survivors grew taller and lived longer.

"Our model implies that the reduction in lifelong levels of infections and inflammation reduced and delayed the progression of cardiovascular disease and mortality due to heart disease and allowed for increased height," said Crimmins, the study's lead author.

Other obvious beneficial factors, such as improved nutrition and higher standards of living, did not explain all the mortality data. Crimmins and Finch found that increases in height did not always follow improvements in income and nutrition. In addition, height decreased during some periods of improving income in early industrial cities.

The authors concluded that a reduction in infection and resulting inflammatory load had the potential to increase height independently of improved food intake.

This study extends previous research by Finch and Crimmins, published last year in the journal Science, that linked childhood infectious disease exposure to chronic inflammation leading to cardiovascular disease and a shortened lifespan.

For their current study, the authors collected mortality data from Sweden, France, England and Switzerland. The data begins in different years for each country but ends uniformly with individuals born in 1899.

After 1900, modern medicine became a dominant force in treating childhood illnesses, swamping the mortality effects studied by Crimmins and Finch.

"The inflammatory mechanism for our model only works when mortality from infection is high," Finch said. "Once childhood infection is low, it can no longer be a factor in explaining old-age trends."

Next, Crimmins and Finch plan to explore the possibility that the mechanisms of infection and aging in historical populations may apply to developing countries with high levels of infectious diseases and inadequate medical care.

###

This research was supported by the National Institute on Aging.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southern California. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Southern California. "Childhood Infections Stunt Growth, Shorten Life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 December 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051227102639.htm>.
University of Southern California. (2005, December 27). Childhood Infections Stunt Growth, Shorten Life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051227102639.htm
University of Southern California. "Childhood Infections Stunt Growth, Shorten Life." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051227102639.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins