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Early life stress may take early toll on heart function
Date:2/21/2013

e new abstract, has shown that the blood pressure of maternally separated rats goes up more in response to angiotensin II and their heart rates go higher as well. Normally, a compensatory mechanism drives the heart rate down a little when blood pressure goes up.

Work by others has shown persistent blood vessel changes in the early stress model, including increased contraction and reduced relaxation when similarly stressed.

Longitudinal studies in humans have shown long-term cardiovascular implications, such as babies born to mothers during the Dutch famine of World War II, growing up at increased risk for cardiovascular disease as well as diabetes, obesity and other health problems.

Bazacliu's earlier studies in a similar animal model indicated that babies whose growth was restricted in utero by conditions such as preeclampsia maternal high blood pressure during pregnancy were at increased risk of cardiovascular disease as adults. This was true whether the babies were born prematurely or at full term. Increased pressure during development reduces blood flow from mother to baby; reduced nutrition and oxygen to the baby is considered an environmental stress.

Bazacliu's interest in early life stress grew out of the reality that, while obviously intended to save premature and otherwise critically ill newborns, neonatal intensive care units can further stress these babies. "All the procedures we must do, the separation from the mother, the environment, even though the babies need the help, it represents a stress." NICUs such as the one at Children's Hospital of Georgia work to minimize negative impact with strategies such as open visiting hours, minimalizing noise and other family-centered care strategies.

Bazacliu came to MCG in 2011 from the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.


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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@gru.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University
Source:Eurekalert  

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