MSN reported research findings from UC researcher Kelly Brunst, PhD, that indicate a mother’s stress levels during pregnancy could increase the risk of their unborn child developing illnesses later in life. Brunst, an assistant professor in the UC College of Medicine, says psychosocial factors in mothers that create stress may also be mutating a child’s mitochondrial DNA and could be precursor to a host of diseases including asthma, obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism.
“We don’t just wake up one day and have asthma or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,” Brunst is quoted in MSN. “The programming effects resulting from environmentally induced shifts occur over time and likely start during gestation at the molecular and cellular level. These shifts alter physiological states that likely play a role in who is going to go on and develop adverse health outcomes.”
The research was also picked up by other media.