Christiane Scheffler

Christiane Scheffler
Universität Potsdam · Institute of Biochemistry and Biology

PD Dr. rer. nat.

About

133
Publications
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Introduction
Christiane Scheffler currently works at the Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam. Christiane does research in Biological Anthropology; human growth. Their current project is 'Community Effects in human physical growth'.

Publications

Publications (133)
Article
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Background The association between bivariate variables may not necessarily be homogeneous throughout the whole range of the variables. We present a new technique to describe inhomogeneity in the association of bivariate variables. Methods We consider the correlation of two normally distributed random variables. The 45° diagonal through the origin...
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Carl Bergmann was an astute naturalist and physiologist. His ideas about animal size and shape were important advances in the pre-Darwinian nineteenth century. Bergmann’s rule claims that that in cold climates, large body mass increases the ratio of volume-to-surface area and provides for maximum metabolic heat retention in mammals and birds. Conve...
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Background: Biological age markers are a crucial indicator whether children are decelerated in growth tempo. Skeletal maturation is the standard measure. Yet, it relies on exposing children to x-radiation. Dental eruption is a potential, but highly debated, radiation free alternative. Objectives: We assess the interrelationship between dental erupt...
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Students learn by repetition. Repetition is essential, but repetition needs questioning, and questioning the repertoire belongs to the essential tasks of student education. Guiding students to questioning was and is our prime motive to offer our International Student Summer Schools. The data were critically discussed among the students, in the twil...
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Background Members of the same social group tent to have the same body height. Migrants tend to adjust in height to their host communities. Objectives Social-Economic-Political-Emotional (SEPE) factors influence growth. We hypothesized that Vietnamese young adult migrants in Germany (1) are taller than their parents, (2) are as tall as their German...
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Twenty-one scientists met for this year’s virtual conference on Auxology held at the University Potsdam, Germany, to discuss child and adolescent growth during times of fear and emotional stress. Growth within the broad range of normal for age and sex is considered a sign of good general health whereas fear and emotional stress can lead to growth f...
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Background Physical fitness is decreased in malnourished children and adults. Poor appearance and muscular flaccidity are among the first signs of malnutrition. Malnutrition is often associated with stunting. Objectives We test the hypotheses that stunted children of low social strata are physically less fit than children of high social strata. Sam...
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Objectives Human body height differs within a wide range and has conventionally been associated with genetic, nutritional, and environmental conditions. In this study, we try to broaden this perspective and add the evolutionary aspect of height differences. Sample and Method We revisited height from archeological data (10 000–1000 BC), and histori...
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Background Subjective Social Status is used as an important predictor for psychological and physiological findings, most commonly measured with the MacArthur Scale (Ladder Test). Previous studies have shown that this test fits better in Western cultures. The idea of a social ladder itself and ranking oneself “higher” or “lower” is a concept that ac...
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Background Over the last 20 years, a decreasing trend in external skeletal robusticity and an increasing trend in overweight and obesity was observed worldwide in adults and children as modern lifestyles in nutritional and activity behavior have changed. However, body mass index (BMI) as a measure for overweight is not an ideal predictor of % body...
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Twenty-three scientists met at Krobielowice, Poland to discuss the role of growth, nutrition and economy on body size. Contrasting prevailing concepts, re-analyses of studies in Indonesian and Guatemalan school children with high prevalence of stunting failed to provide evidence for an association between nutritional status and body height. Direct...
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Socially, economically, politically and emotionally (SEPE) disadvantaged children are shorter than children from affluent background. In view of previous work on the lack of association between nutrition and child growth, we performed a study in urban schoolchildren. We measured 723 children (5.83 to 13.83 years); Kupang, Indonesia; three schools w...
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Objectives To assess trends in growth in different developmental periods and trends in developmental tempo in Polish boys between 1966 and 2012. Methods Data on 34 828 boys aged 7 to 18 years were collected during Polish Anthropological Surveys conducted in 1966, 1978, 1988, and 2012. Biological parameters, related to onset of adolescent growth sp...
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Objective: Stunting (height-for-age < -2 sd) is one of the forms of undernutrition and is frequent among children of low- and middle-income countries. But stunting perse is not a synonym of undernutrition. We investigated association between body height and indicators of energetic undernutrition at three critical thresholds for thinness used in pu...
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Life history theory predicts that experiencing stress during the early period of life will result in accelerated growth and earlier maturation. Indeed, animal and some human studies documented a faster pace of growth in the offspring of stressed mothers. Recent advances in epigenetics suggest that the effects of early developmental stress might be...
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Objective: The Indonesia Basic Health Research 2018 indicates that Indonesian children are still among the shortest in the world. When referred to WHOGCS, the prevalence of stunting reaches up to 43% in several Indonesian districts. INGRC were established in order to better distinguish between healthy short children and children with growth disord...
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Background: It has been shown that modern life style with reduced physical activity can lead to lower bone accumulation. Also a decline trend in external skeletal robustness in children and young adolescents, measured by the Frame Index (FI), seems to have a parallel trend with the increase in overweight and obesity. Based on these findings we esti...
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Background: Since the 19th century, sexual dimorphism has been known to be sensitive to adverse environmental conditions. Migrants are sensitive to economic and political affluence, and tend to adjust in height towards height of their hosts. We aim to study growth, sexual dimorphism, and height of native and migrant children in three primary school...
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Background: Length-for-age is considered the indicator of choice in monitoring the long-term impact of chronic nutritional deficiency. Aim: We hypothesized that short term increments of body weight cross-correlate with increments of the lower leg length. Sample and methods: We re-analyzed the association between weekly measurements of weight and of...
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Background: This systematic review aimed at collecting, analyzing and summarizing scientific studies focusing on psychosocial factors that influence linear growth among humans. Methods: The online database "PubMed" was used in order to acquire suitable scientific studies. These studies were evaluated based on clearly defined criteria that determine...
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In nature, dominance is often shown by body size; even in humans many studies report that social status is associated with body height. In today's society, educational status is an important factor for social classification. Since growing children do not have their own educational or social status, they are often affected by the status of their par...
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Aim: Influence of nutrition in human growth failure, especially stunting, is a well-accepted idea. The present study assesses the influence of nutrition and non-nutritional factors on height growth in a short stature population. Material and methods: The present study was conducted among the children and adolescents of Sikkim, India. The sample siz...
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Background: WHO documents characterize stunting as, "…impaired growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation." The equation of stunting with malnutrition is common. This contrasts with historic and modern observations indicating that growth in height is largely inde...
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Article
We are pleased to to reply to the comments of Tanjung et al. about our article 'Stunting is not a synonym of malnutrition' (Eur J Clin Nutr. 2019. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41430-019-0439-4). We provide additional current and historical evidence that stunting is not a synonym of malnutrition.
Article
Zusammenfassung Hintergrund Noch immer gründen heutige Analysen genetischer Zwillings- und Familienstudien auf mathematischen Ansätzen des frühen 20. Jahrhunderts, namentlich von Galton, Pearson und Fisher, und führen zu konventionellen Schätzwerten für die Heritabilität der Körperhöhe zwischen h² = 0,87 und h² = 0,93 bei Männern und zwischen h² =...
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The clinical audience is wedded to the idea that stunting is nutritional. Also among the nutrition community there is “convergence on the use of length‐for‐age as the indicator of choice in monitoring the long‐term impact of chronic nutritional deficiency” [1]. These discernments are puzzling. The associations between nutrition and growth, and also...
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Body height has a signaling function among social mammals. Humans also perceive physical size as a signal and tend to associate stature and status. Taller men are perceived as more competent and authoritative. Studies in wild Kalahari male meerkats (Suricata suricatta) suggest that dominance itself can be a stimulus for growth allowing for competit...
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Objectives: The association between body height and social status is known. We were interested in the effect of intergeneration changes in social status on height. Methods: Body height was measured in 2008 paternal grandfather-father-son and 1803 paternal grandfather-father-daughter triplets. The sample consisted of four child cohorts born in 19...
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'Nutrition influences height' has been a common concept for the last decades. Recently, contradictory results occurred when studying the effectiveness of nutritional interventions, questioning the interaction of nutrition and height. Therefore, we hypothesize that, independently of population/country, nutrition does not affect height in children an...
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Background: Multiple linear correlations between parameters can be shown in correlation matrices. Correlations can be ranked, but can also be visualized in network graphs. Yet, translating a correlation matrix into a network graph is not trivial. In view of a popular child game, we propose to name this method St. Nicolas House Analysis. Material an...
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Common knowledge suggests that growth in height is influenced by nutrition, genetics, health, and environmental and general living conditions. In addition, modern studies showed that also social mobility and dominance within the social group, may significantly affect adolescent growth and final height. The aim of the study was to investigate the im...
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Background: We investigated average body height in the central provinces of the Russian empire in the middle of XIX century in view of the concept of "community effects on height". We analyzed body height correlations between neighboring districts at this time. We added information about secular changes in body height during the 19th century of thi...
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Background: The polymorphism in FTO gene (rs9939609) is known to be associated with higher BMI and body fat mass content. However, environmental factors can modify this effect. The purpose of the present study was to investigate an association between sport specialization and the rs9939609 SNP in FTO gene in the cohort of professional and amateur y...
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Background: Over 60 years ago the biggest drug catastrophe in Germany took place. The drug thalidomide, sold by the German pharmaceutical company Chemie Grünenthal GmbH starting in 1957 under the name "Contergan", caused severe birth defects in newborns. Chemie Grünenthal withdraw Contergan in 1961. Until nearly 30 years later in 1988 there were al...
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The human growth pattern with different developmental stages is a result of evolutionary trade‐offs showing specific features. The prolonged childhood and adolescence with their typical growth spurts is associated with age‐ and sex‐specific development of maturation signs, and changes of body proportions and dimensions. Biological age can be estima...
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Background: In view of the ongoing debate on "chronic malnutrition" and the concept of "stunting" as "a better measure than underweight of the cumulative effects of undernutrition and infection (WHO)", we translate, briefly comment and re-publish three seminal historic papers on catch-up growth following re-feeding after severe food restriction of...
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Twenty-two scientists met at Krobielowice, Poland, to discuss the impact of the social environment, spatial proximity, migration, poverty, but also psychological factors such as body perception and satisfaction, and social stressors such as elite sports, and teenage pregnancies, on child and adolescent growth. The data analysis included linear mixe...
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The pace-of-life syndrome (POLS) hypothesis posits that life-history characteristics, among individual differences in behavior, and physiological traits have coevolved in response to environmental conditions. This hypothesis has generated much research interest because it provides testable predictions concerning the association between the slow-fas...
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Aim: To scrutinize to what extent modern ideas about nutrition effects on growth are supported by historic observations in European populations. Method: We reviewed 19thand early 20thcentury paediatric journals in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, the third largest European library with an almost complete collection of the German medical literatur...
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Body height has traditionally been looked upon as a mirror of the condition of society, short height being an indicator of poor nutritional status, poor education, and low social status and income. This view has recently been questioned. We aimed to quantify the effects of nutrition, education, sibship size, and household income, factors that are c...
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Background: In our modern world, the way of life in nutritional and activity behaviour has changed. As a consequence, parallel trends of an epidemic of overweight and a decline in external skeletal robusticity are observed in children and adolescents.Aim:We aim to develop reference centiles for external skeletal robusticity of European girls and bo...
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Because of political conflicts and climate change, migration will be increased worldwide and integration in host societies is a challenge also for migrants. We hypothesize that migrants, who take up the challenge in a new social environment are taller than migrants who do not pose this challenge. We analyze by a questionnaire possible social, nutri...
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Background: We define migrants as people who move from their place of birth to a new place of residence. Migration usually is directed by "Push-Pull" factors, for example to escape from poor living conditions or to find more prosperous socio-economic conditions. Migrant children tend to assimilate quickly, and soon perceive themselves as peers with...
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Normal weight obesity is defined as having excessive body fat, but normal BMI. Even though previous research revealed that excessive body fat in children inhibited their physical activity and decreased motor performance, there has been only little evidence about motor performance of normal weight obese children. This study aims to establish whether...
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Changes in body height throughout extended historic periods are very complex and dynamic processes. This pilot study aimed to investigate the pattern of longitudinal height z-scores changes in children before and after entering kindergarten. In summer 2016, we measured height and weight of 32 children from 4 groups of two kindergartens aged 3-6 yea...
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Aim: Poverty has often been associated with malnutrition, stunted growth, impaired cognitive development and poor earnings. We studied whether these associations were found in German men born and raised shortly after World War Two during severe and longstanding nationwide malnutrition. Methods: We analysed German old-age pension payments, as a r...
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Objectives: During the early 1990s, the economic and political situation in eastern Germany changed overnight. Here, we use the rare chance of an experiment-like setting in humans and aim to test whether the rapid change of environmental conditions in eastern Germany in the 1990s led to a change in the sex-specific fat distribution pattern, an end...
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Anthropologists all over the world are discussing influences on individual height including quantity and quality of nutrition. To examine whether a relationship between nutritional components and height can be found this pilot study has been developed. The research samples consisted of 44 children (age 3-6 years) attending two different kindergarte...
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Objectives: Average adult height of a population is considered a biomarker of the quality of the health environment and economic conditions. The causal relationships between height and income inequality are not well understood. We analyze data from 169 countries for national average heights of men and women and national-level economic factors to t...
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Background: Under normal nutritional and health conditions, body height, weight and head circumference are significantly related. We hypothesize that the apparent general association between weight, height and head circumference of the growing child might be misleading. Methods: We re-analyzed data of 7444 boys and 7375 girls measured in East-Ge...
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Background: There is a common perception that tall stature results in social dominance. Evidence in meerkats suggests that social dominance itself may be a strong stimulus for growth. Relative size serves as the signal for individuals to induce strategic growth adjustments. Aim: We construct a thought experiment to explore the potential consequence...
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Handedness is a major trait of humans, generating a measurable directional bilateral asymmetry in the upper extremities. In most cultures, right handedness is genetically more frequent (90%) and socially supported, even if reskilling became unusual. The present anthropometric study was conducted in 2014 with 76 right and 26 left handers born after...
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Twenty-four scientists met at Aschauhof, Altenhof, Germany, to discuss the associations between child growth and development, and nutrition, health, environment and psychology. Meta-analyses of body height, height variability and household inequality, in historic and modern growth studies published since 1794, highlighting the enormously flexible p...
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Aim: We aimed to develop the first references for body height, body weight and body mass index (BMI) for boys based on the individual developmental tempo with respect to their voice break status . Methods: We reanalysed data from the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS study) on body height, body we...
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Objectives: Age at menarche is one of the most important factors when observing growth and development. The aim of this study was to assess the temporal pattern in variability of menarcheal age for a historic Swiss population from the 19th and 20th centuries. Methods: Medical health records from the Bernese women's hospital (Switzerland) were an...
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Aim: We aimed to develop the first references for body height, body weight and body mass index (BMI) for boys based on the individual developmental tempo with respect to their voice break status. Methods: We re-analysed data from the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS study) on body height, body weigh...
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Height and skeletal morphology strongly relate to life style. Parallel to the decrease in physical activity and locomotion, modern people are slimmer in skeletal proportions. In German children and adolescents, elbow breadth and particularly relative pelvic breadth (50th centile of bicristal distance divided by body height) have significantly decre...
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Twenty-five scientists met at Aschauhof, Altenhof, Germany, to discuss various aspects of the complex network of modern health screening, focusing on current scientific topics including medical sciences, human biology, and mathematics; on problems in implementing these results at the practical level of physicians, nurses, technicians, and engineers...
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Objectives Modern human life style has led to significant decrease in everyday physical activity and bipedal locomotion. It has previously been shown that skeletal robustness (relative elbow breadth) is associated with daily step counts. The aim of the study was to investigate whether also other skeletal measures, particularly pelvic breadth may ha...