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Paediatr Child Health. 2009 Jul-Aug; 14(6): 378.
PMCID: PMC2735379

Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease

The International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) was created in the year 2000 by scientists eager to share the rapidly expanding scientific field of developmental plasticity. The society and Cambridge University Press are forming a partnership to publish a bimonthly peer-reviewed journal starting in February 2010. The paediatric community in Canada may be interested in the content of this new journal <>.

Undernutrition in utero influences how a person responds to external environmental challenges in childhood and adult life. The first studies in fetal programming involved the association between low birth weight and adult obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, a well-described but controversial theory known worldwide as the Barker hypothesis. Evidence is increasing that fetal programming may also be involved in the etiology of asthma, cancer, osteoporosis, renal disease, cognitive development, and neurodegenerative and mental health diseases.

The new Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease will publish research on how the interactions between early environmental exposures and genetic factors influence health later in life. There will be original research from clinicians, perinatologists, nutritionists, epidemiologists, social scientists, medical anthropologists, physiologists, developmental biologists, geneticists, economists, public health specialists and policy makers. The first issue will include review articles from invited speakers at the biannual DOHaD World Congress in Santiago, Chile, in November 2009. For more information, see <>.

The Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease is Dr Michael Ross, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (California, USA). There are seven associate editors and a 50-member multidisciplinary, multinational editorial board. Three of the associate editors are from the United Kingdom, the country of origin of Dr David Barker, who first described the Barker hypothesis. Two of the associate editors are from the USA and one is from New Zealand. The only Canadian and one of only two physician associate editors is Dr Heather Dean, a paediatric endocrinologist at the University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, Manitoba). Dr Ross is available at gro.egdirbmac@rotideahod to answer any questions regarding this new journal.

Two active Canadian members of the DOHaD Council are Drs John Challis and Stephen Matthews. Dr Challis is a trustee of the DOHaD governing council. He is currently President and CEO of the Michael Smith Foundation in British Columbia, previous Vice-President of Research at the University of Toronto (Toronto, Ontario) and a founding member of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health. Dr Matthews is one of two regional representatives for North America on the DOHaD Council. He is currently the head of the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto, which has a strong international team-based research program related to DOHaD.

Editor’s note: Paediatrics & Child Health does not routinely bring other journals to readers’ attention; however, given that paediatricians and family physicans outside of academic centres may not be aware of this journal and might find some of the articles of interest, we asked Dr Heather Dean to provide an overview.


1. Dean HJ, Challis J. The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. Can J Diabetes. 2006;30:16–7.
2. Gillman MW. Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. NEJM. 2005;353:1848–50. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
3. Lawlor DA. The Developmental Origins of Health & Disease: Where do we go from here? Epidemiology. 2008;19:206–8. [PubMed]

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