2013 Volume 89 Issue 10 Pages 462-473
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes mellitus and coronary heart disease, are chronic, non-infectious diseases of long duration. NCDs are increasingly widespread worldwide and are becoming a serious health and economic burden. NCDs arise from complex interactions between the genetic make-up of an individual and environmental factors. Several epidemiological studies have revealed that the perinatal environment influences health later in life, and have proposed the concept of developmental programming or developmental origin of health and disease (DOHaD). These studies suggest the importance of life course health care from fetal life, early childhood, adulthood, and through to old age. Recent progress in genomics, proteomics and diagnostic modalities holds promise for identifying high risk groups, predicting latent diseases, and allowing early intervention. Preemptive medicine is the ultimate goal of medicine, but to achieve it, the full participation of the public and all sectors of society is imperative.
(Contributed by Hiroo IMURA, M.J.A.)