Unbord babies are not entirely protected from the outside environment and their health can be threatened by harmful exposures, like traffic pollution, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, etc. Experts like Sabine and Nadia say they are at greatest risk from harmful exposures during the first three months, and talk about the importance of the first 1000 days : starting at the point of conception with the baby's nine months in the womb and continues until their second birthday.
Dr. Sabine Langie, biomedical scientist at VITO (Flemish Institute for Technological Research) supported by the AXA Research Fund, works on discovering how environmental exposures during pregnancy affect future allergy risks. She works on epigenetics, biological mechanisms that modify gene expression without changing the DNA sequence. For example, she noted that some atmospheric particules like nitrogen oxide (emitted by industry and transportation) can affect the development of the immune system of unborn childs.
Greg also chats with Nadia Chanzu from the University of Cape Town, another AXA-supported researcher, who's looking into improving the health of pregnant women and aiming to reduce the incidence of preterm births.