Cristina Panisi – Istituto Sacra Famiglia, Varese
Ernesto Burgio - ECERI (European Cancer and Environment Research Institute – Bruxelles)

In recent decades the Western world has been the scene of a profound epidemiological transformation, characterized on the one hand by an evident decline in the incidence of acute diseases caused by exogenous causes (infectious and parasitic diseases), on the other by an equally rapid increase in chronic conditions, degenerative, inflammatory and neoplastic diseases, with a worrying anticipation of the age of onset (Landrigan et al 2005, Burgio 2011). The phenomenon concerns, in particular, endocrine-metabolic diseases (obesity "pandemic", Burgio et al. 2015a); neurodevelopmental disorders (Fombonne 2009) and neurodegenerative diseases (Brookmeyer et al 2007); immunomediated diseases (allergies, autoimmune diseases, celiac disease, Bach 2002); diseaes of the genital and reproductive sphere (Virtanen et al 2005); cancer - in particular children (Burgio 2013a). All these conditions show a parallel growth trend, a real "epidemiological transition", a transformation that is difficult to explain on the basis of traditional epidemiological and etiopathogenetic models. The epigenetic mechanisms provide a more plausible explanation of the phenomenon, compared to genetic models in the strict sense (Gluckman and Hanson 2004). These mechanisms are important topics addressed within pediatric scientific societies in recent years, (First Thousand Days of Life).

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