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Environmental stress probed in cardiovascular disease, diabetes
Date:9/5/2007

imes over the next four years, asking about stress factors, including their living environments and how they cope with stress.

The twin design allows you to assess whether they are experiencing the same environmental factors now as when they were younger and in the same household, Dr. Treiber says. Early in life, children tend to model their parents behavior in how they cope with stress and perceive the world. As theyve gotten older, theyve been exposed to different things, different environments. By comparing them and determining whether theyve developed early signs of these diseases, we can tell how much is attributable to genetics and how much is environmental stress.

Past phases of the study have revealed that among both the black and white twins, genetics account for about half of the differences in blood pressure and reactions to stress.

With the current phase, researchers also hope to find out whether the black twins, whose race tends to develop hypertension earlier and more often than whites, are more impacted by stress. One theory is that blacks have a higher risk of stress due to things such as discrimination, unfair treatment and unsafe neighborhoods.

The value of the longitudinal study is that well be able to look at the changes over time, Dr. Treiber says. Not only the physical changes as they mature, but also the changes in their social and emotional development.

We have a greater chance to intervene and alter environmental factors, for example by teaching people how to better deal with stress, says Dr. Harold Snieder, MCG adjunct professor of pediatrics, chair of the Genetic Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, and a co-investigator on the study.


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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert

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