Researchers at the University of Michigan looked at how much protection additional birth weight added against developing the disease years later. They found that every 1.1 pounds of birth weight decreases the risk of developing tuberculosis later by 46 percent among identical twins.
The association between birth weight and developing tuberculosis is much stronger for males than females, with girls only about 16 percent less likely to develop tuberculosis for every 1.1 pounds (500 grams) of birth weight, said Eduardo Villamor, study author and associate professor at the U-M School of Public Health. The risk decreased by 87 percent for infant males with each pound.
Villamor worked with colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and began the research while at Harvard. The findings are important because tuberculosis infects about one-third of the planet's population, and is second only to HIV in deaths caused by a single infection. Low birth weight of babies is a larger problem in developing countries, but it occurs everywhere, he said.
It's too early to say if insufficient prenatal growth causes clinical tuberculosis, but the findings suggest that may be the case, Villamor said. The fact that researchers studied twins and could control for many genetic and environment factors that influence the development of TB supports the causal relationship.
The study also helps understand the developmental origins of health and disease, Villamor said, which is an emerging field.
"Prenatal exposure to environmental insults, including maternal malnutrition, could program what happens later on in terms of our immune responses to infection, possibly through programming of the immune system," Villamor said. "This study is an example of that."
The study, "Evidence for an effect of fetal growth on the risk of tuberculosis," is set to appear in the Feb. 1 edition of the Journal Infectious Disease.
The University of Michigan School of Public Health has been working to promote health and prevent disease since 1941, and is consistently ranked among the top five public health schools in the nation. Whether making new discoveries in the lab or researching and educating in the field, our faculty, students, and alumni are deployed around the globe to promote and protect our health.
Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin
Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
17.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.05.2017 | Life Sciences
23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering