News about Twinlife 

250.000 euros for growth research in Twinlife-twins
30 September 2019

LUMC-researchers Dr. Bas Heijmans and Dr. Christiaan de Bruin have received the Grant for Growth Innovation for growth research in Twinlife-twins. They accepted the grant of 250.000 euros on the 20th of September during a special session of the European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology congress in Vienna. Heijmans and De Bruin want to understand why some twins experience catch up growth after their growth retardation in the womb, and why other twins do not.

Searching for epigenetic differences

The growth retardation arises due to the fact that identical twin often have to share one placenta, but do not share this placenta equally. The twin that is dependent on the smaller share, receives less nutrients and stays smaller. "We know from our Hunger Winter research that malnutrition in the womb can lead to persistent changes in the regulation of the growth genes in the DNA", says project leader Heijmans. "Using our latest techniques, we will try to find those epigenetic differences in twins that share a placenta. We expect to find specific epigenetic changes that determine effective catch up growth in the early childhood."

Goal: better care for children with growth retardation

It is still unknown which processes determine the catch up growth of a twin. That is also the case for a much larger group of singletons with a persistent growth retardation in the early years of life. But because identical twins are genetically identical and therefore each other's perfect control, it is possible to try to uncover what these processes are in this special group of patients.

"I see children with severe growth retardation on a weekly basis. Sometimes we know which genetic factor is responsible, but more often we do not know the exact cause. This new research can change this, so we can finally offer this group of children better care.", thus pediatric endocrinologist De Bruin of the Willem-Alexander Kinderziekenhuis.

How does your DNA change by what your mother ate?
30 May 2019

Why does one person get fat after eating fried food once, while another can eat as much as they want without gaining weight? They probably owe this to their good genes. But did you know that your environment can also influence your DNA? Epigeneticist Bas Heijmans (Leiden University) investigates the Dutch Hunger Winter and how the DNA of children conceived during this famine has been adjusted and how this can lead to obesity. 

Heijmans talks about his research in his lecture on Thursday May 30th at 'Universiteit van Nederland'.

Start of Twinlife 
25 January 2019

In January 2019 we have officially started approaching parents to participate in Twinlife. We strive to include one hundred twin pairs

Extra care for babies' hearts after a difficult start. 

Premature and low birth weight babies more often develop cardiovascular disease later in life. So, a 'bad' start can increase your risk of heart disease. Dr. Bas Heijmans performs research within this field and is committed to providing good care for children at risk. 

Click here to read more.

Photo by Joshua Kloet

© 2019 by the TwinLife team.