Social Media Sidebar


Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.


Thomas Edison

If hunger doesnt kill you, it doesnt make you stronger

Posted in Science on 7th Aug, 2013 02:29 AM by AlexMuller

People who were undernourished during infancy or in the womb are less resilient during famines later in life, have shorter lifespans and are less likely to reproduce than those who were well fed, a study of Finnish church records from the 1800s has found. The results contradict an often-cited hypothesis about the effects of prenatal under-nutrition.


The predictive adaptive response (PAR) hypothesis posits that people who are deprived of food during prenatal development or infancy compensate physiologically, storing fats and using sugars more efficiently. This, in turn, is thought to make them better able to withstand food scarcity later in life, and it has been suggested that these traits would be passed on to their offspring.


The PAR hypothesis could offer one explanation for the high rate of metabolic diseases such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes among people who experience food scarcity early in life. It proposes that if these individuals encounter plentiful food resources when they are older, they are more apt to store abdominal fat and gain weight, leading to a plethora of metabolic disorders.


Instead, the Finnish study, which appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences1, concludes that people who were undernourished during early development are less able to cope with famine as older children and adults.


“A lot of ecological studies [in animals] have shown that a bad start in life, such as low food or high population density around the time that you’re developing, is essentially bad for your fitness,” says Adam Hayward, an evolutionary ecologist at the University of Sheffield, UK, and first author of the study. “And humans are apparently very similar in that respect.”


Hayward and his team used preindustrial church records from Finland that contained details on births, deaths and socioeconomic status to piece together the life histories of 3,236 individuals from two nineteenth-century agricultural populations. These people had little access to transportation and were heavily dependent on rye and barley crops in an unfavourable growing climate.


The researchers analysed data on crop yields over a 50-year period that culminated in a severe famine in the 1860s, which was marked by high death rates from diseases such as smallpox, typhus and whooping cough. They investigated how crop yields around the time of birth affected people's survival and reproductive success during the famine. Those who experienced higher crop yields when they were born were more likely to survive the famine and to have children, the team found.


“The study by Hayward et al. is one of the few to date to test empirically some of the key tenets of the PAR hypothesis,” says Jonathan Wells, an expert in paediatric nutrition at University College London, who was not involved in the research.

Read original article » Back to category


Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-08-07
Why would anyone that has a poor start in life especially in the womb and as a young child be stronger later in life, Now that just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Maybe they think they would be more determined to make it or tougher per say. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-08-07
I don't know how well founded this study actually is, but if you use just your common sense and think about it, it would appear to be more true than the PAR Hypothesis, Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-10-23
ncvEVJ Thanks so much for the blog post.Much thanks again. Fantastic. Reply


Recent headlines

  • Posted in Science on 2019-01-05 00:26:50
    China Lands Chang'e 4 on the Far Side of the more
    Posted in Science on 2018-12-31 00:24:45
    Support for Human Gene Editing to Fix Diseases in more
    Posted in Science on 2018-12-31 00:15:06
    Will Mimicking The Nervous System Advance more
    Posted in Science on 2018-12-26 15:04:48
    NASA Gives Us Sugar in Space to Confirm Building more
    Posted in Business on 2018-12-21 22:48:10
    US Air Force Funds SpaceX Starlink For $28.7 more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs, more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    Even light drinking increases risk of more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Researchers have discovered how to slow more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Human retinas grown in a dish explain how color vision more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    The smartphone app that can tell you’re depressed before more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Neural networks don’t understand what optical illusions more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Remember me

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Verify password:
Remember me