Recent media mentions of work from the Bush Lab:
Oxytocin Receptor Gene, Socioeconomic Status and Childhood Obesity
"Recent work by UCSF researchers in the Division of Developmental Medicine suggests that children raised in low socioeconomic status environments who have a genetic variant for the oxcytocin receptor may be at increased risk for childhood obesity.
In a paper published in JAMA Pediatrics, the researchers described how body weight was more likely to be affected either positively or negatively by socioeconomic status (SES) in children with the A form (allele) of the oxytocin receptor gene. Compared to children with the G allele, who had moderate rates of obesity irrespective of SES, children with the A form were much more likely to be obese if they were of low SES but much less likely to be obese if their SES was high."
Undoing the Harm of Childhood Trauma and Adversity
“We now understand that effects of adversity exposure can begin immediately when an organism is conceived and begins to develop,” said Nicole Bush, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics who is determined to uncover the mechanisms of how early-life adversity affects chronic disease in humans.
Maternal stress hormones appear to program fetal development, she said, and beyond that, a mother’s own early childhood adversity can affect her biology throughout her life, which she carries into her pregnancy.
Bush and Lieberman have joined forces in the CTRP-Health study at the UCSF Child Trauma Research Program (CTRP) to examine the biological systems implicated in traumatic stress and their response to Lieberman’s child-parent interventions. In mothers and their children, Bush and colleagues are searching for biological markers of adversity in the telomeres at the ends of chromosomes, the immune system and other physiological stress response systems."
NIH awards nearly $5 million to research environmental influences on child development
"The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded more than $4.7 million to a project being conducted in part by UC San Francisco researchers investigating how the environment influences neurodevelopment and asthma risk in children.
The grant was part of $157 million in national awards announced by the NIH for a multitude of projects under a seven-year initiative called Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO). The ECHO program will investigate how exposure to a range of environmental factors in early development — from conception through early childhood — influences the health of children and adolescents. The studies will target four key pediatric outcomes that have a high public health impact: airway health, obesity, neurodevelopment, and birth outcomes.
UCSF Department of Psychiatry faculty members Nicole Bush, PhD, and Kaja LeWinn, ScD, are co-principal investigators on the grant project, titled "Prenatal and Childhood PATHWAYS to Health: An Integrated Model of Chemical and Social Exposures, Biological Mechanisms, and Sex-Specific Effects on Neurodevelopment and Respiratory Outcomes." In collaboration with their fellow co-principal investigators from the University of Washington (Catherine Karr, PhD, MD, MS), Seattle Children’s Research Institute (Sheela Sathyanarayana, MD, MPH), and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis (Frances Tylavsky, DrPH), they will harmonize data from three extant cohorts comprising nearly 3,000 mother-child pairs to examine important questions about the effects of chemical (pollution and phthalates) and non-chemical (self-reported stress and stress biomarkers) exposures during pregnancy and their interaction on developing fetuses."