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A Life Course Approach to Healthy Ageing$
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Diana Kuh, Rachel Cooper, Rebecca Hardy, Marcus Richards, and Yoav Ben-Shlomo

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199656516

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199656516.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 November 2021

Life course epigenetics and healthy ageing

Life course epigenetics and healthy ageing

(p.198) Chapter 15 Life course epigenetics and healthy ageing
A Life Course Approach to Healthy Ageing

Paul Haggarty

Anne C Ferguson-Smith

Oxford University Press

Because of their dynamic and heritable properties, epigenetic mechanisms have emerged as a promising biological explanation linking events and exposures across life to long-term health. Epigenetics also provides a useful conceptual model on which to base intervention strategies to improve healthy ageing. Epigenetic mechanisms involve the modification of DNA in ways that influence structure and function. Epigenotype is influenced by genotype but unlike genotype there is the potential for modification. Epigenetic states have been implicated in a wide range of diseases though the mechanisms are not fully understood. There is evidence for nutritional and behavioural programming of epigenetic states, with early life and the period before birth being particularly important. There is some evidence that epigenetic states resulting from adverse events/exposures at earlier life stages may be reversible. Epigenetic states have the potential to provide markers of biological age and objective markers of complex exposures in life course studies.

Keywords:   epigenetics, genetics, imprinting, programming, heritability, social class, behaviour, ageing, pregnancy, intervention

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