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Nutrition, DNA methylation and child conduct problems Seminar

12:30 - 13:30
10 March 2016
University of Southampton, Highfield Campus, Building 44 (Shackleton), Room 3031/3033

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Sue McNally on 02380 595150 or email .

Event details

Conduct problems (CP) in youth affect society in a wide and penetrating manner; the victimization and distress to individuals and impairment of life opportunities is substantial. The associated costs are thought to be especially severe for youth with an early onset (at or before the age of 10 years) of CP - these youth are often raised in high-risk environments (family, community); show abnormal neurocognitive development; and are at risk for a persistent pattern of offending. Previous studies highlight that a poor diet (e.g., consumption of energy-dense foods that are high in saturated fat and low in unsaturated fat) in early life (i.e., in prenatal and early postnatal periods) can disturb child neurodevelopment and lead to cognitive, emotional and behavioural problems in later life. To date, however, no existing research has integrated - in a developmental context - nutrition (i.e., dietary fat/sugar) and biological markers (epigenetic and metabolic) that can help to identify the mechanisms underlying the associations between poor nutrition (prenatal period through to childhood) and CP. In this talk, I will present research in this area and discuss ongoing challenges and future directions for the field.

Speaker information

Dr Edward D Barker, King's College London. Dr Barker investigates how stressful environments exacerbate underlying genetic vulnerabilities to affect children’s development. He is particularly interested in the impact of psychopathology in caregivers (and associated risks) on children’s antisocial behaviour, and the relative role of prenatal and postnatal risk exposures. He received his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin and completed postdoctoral training at the Research Unit for Children’s Psychosocial Maladjustment (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) and the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre (King’s College London). Prior to returning to the IoP, he held posts at the University of Alabama (USA) and Birkbeck, University of London.

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