Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

The Washington Post Features Dan Eisenberg’s Work on Pregnancy and Epigenetic Aging

Posted: 10/28/2019 (CSDE in the News)

It is a well known fact that pregnancy and childbirth affects women’s physiology and hormones, before and immediately following pregnancy.  Less well understood is how pregnancy and childbirth affects the aging process.  CSDE Affiliate and Associate Professor of Anthropology Dan Eisenberg pioneering research in this area was featured in The Washington Post in a recent article “Do pregnancy and childbirth accelerate aging in women? Maybe.” The Post’s article discusses Eisenberg and co-authors’ findings, published in Scientific Reports (July 2018), showing how human reproduction can lead to shorter telomeres and acceleration of epigenetic aging among young women.  According to the article and Eisenberg’s paper, shorter telomeres and accelerated epigenetic aging are linked with accelerated aging and earlier death.

The Washington Post story also highlights Eisenberg’s involvement in a new study, together with recently graduated CSDE fellow Tiffany Pan, that focuses on microchimerism. Microchimerism is a phenomenon where cells are transferred back and forth across the placenta and some colonize long-term. Fetal cells found in the mother might have long term impacts on their health and aging.

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