Long Term consequences of exposure to famine

3 - 6 November 2008

Venue: Lorentz Center@Oort

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International Workshop, Lorentz Center, Leiden, the Netherlands,

November 3 through November 6, 2008.

The aim of this workshop is to synthesize current findings from human studies

and to quantify the potential health implications of severe undernutrition at

specific points in the life-course on present and future generations. The

workshop will address the social policy implications of current research in this

area and explore biological mechanisms that may underlie any long term

changes in health. Participants will formulate research priorities in this area and

develop a program of action for the next 3-5 years. Activities may be undertaken

using available data from existing studies or with new data as needed.  

On the first day, participants will introduce the currently available studies in

humans. On  the second day, invited speakers will provide state-of-the art

reviews on themes of common interest such as relevant findings from animal

studies, the integration of data across studies, the use of (epi)genetic markers,

and analytic issues in the evaluation of longitudinal data. Policy implication will

also be discussed. Thereafter, participants will meet in working groups to discuss

and formulate short-term and medium term research priorities, data needs, and

areas for further collaboration between studies. In addition, steps to obtain

funding for future activities need to be clarified. The working groups will break for

a conference dinner and may continue their meetings in the evening. On the third

day, the working groups will present their recommendations for general

discussion in the plenary session with all workshop participants. A volunteer

writing group drawn from the participants will be charged to prepare relevant

materials from the workshop for journal publication and will proceed with these

preparations on the fourth day.

Participants include investigators of the Chinese famine of 1959-1961, the Dutch

famine of 1944-1945, the siege of Leningrad of 1941-1944, the occupation of the

Channel Islands during World War II, and the Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933. In

addition, long-term effects of famine across generations using 19th century

records from Finland and Sweden will be presented. The workshop will be

attended by investigators from a wide range of scientific disciplines, including

epidemiology, demography, medicine, maternal and child nutrition, human

development, biostatistics, genetics, molecular biology, and health policy. There

will be ample opportunity for informal discussions.



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