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Pregnant women who eat a diet high in fat and sugar could have children with heart problems, a new study finds.
Researchers say that, in a study conducted on mice, mouse mothers who ate an unhealthy diet before and during pregnancy had offspring with weak hearts.
Health - Issues - Generations - Mice - Diet
Surprisingly, these health issues lasted for at least three generations, even if the younger mice were not obese and ate a diet of standard mouse chow.
The team, from the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, says its findings show how important it is for women to maintain a healthy weight both before becoming pregnant and while pregnant.
Researchers - Children - Mouse - Mothers - Increase
Researchers found that most of the children of obese mouse mothers had an increase in weight of the left ventricle, which pumps blood out of the heart.
In humans, excess left ventricle weight is often a sign of a weak heart muscle, which can lead to heart failure.
Team - Heart - Problems - Offspring - Generation
Additionally, the team found that the heart problems were less evident in the female offspring of the younger generation of mice.
'The cardiac abnormalities seem to dissipate somewhat over the generations, which is intriguing,' said co-senior author Dr Abhinav Diwan, an associate professor of medicine at Washington University.
Differences - Male - Hearts - Ways - Study
'There were also differences in male and female hearts that we can't explain yet. In many ways, this study presents more questions than it answers, and we plan to continue studying these mice to help answer them.'
To see if the problem was with the obese mother herself or her reproductive system, the team implanted fertilized eggs from obese mice into normal-weight mice.
Heart - Problems - Health - Issues - Egg
However, these offspring had the same heart problems, which shows the health issues were from the egg and not from environmental factors.
The team also found...
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