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Smoking during pregnancy can harm baby’s brain

During pregnancy smoking contributes to significant problems in utero and after the birth problems like low birth weight and attentional difficulties.

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New York- During pregnancy, mothers who smoke are at risk of metal disorders in their babies, warns a study.

According to the study, higher maternal nicotine level in the mother’s blood increased the odds 38 percent of having schizophrenia among their offsring.

Nicotine readily crosses the placenta into the foetal bloodstream, specifically targets foetal brain development, causing short- and long-term changes in cognition and potentially contributes to other neuro-developmental abnormalities.

“To our knowledge, this is the first biomarker-based study to show a relationship between foetal nicotine exposure and schizophrenia,” said senior author Alan Brown from Columbia University’s medical centre in the US.

“We employed a nationwide sample with the highest number of schizophrenia cases to date in a study of this type,” Brown added in the paper published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The team examined nearly 1,000 cases of schizophrenia and matched controls among offspring born in Finland from 1983-1998, who were ascertained from the country’s national registry.

The findings persisted after adjusting for important confounding factors including maternal and parental psychiatric history, socio-economic status and maternal age.

smoking pregnant lady outside hospital
smoking pregnant lady outside hospital

Heavy smoking based on cotinine, a reliable marker of nicotine in maternal sera, was reported by 20 percent of the mothers of cases, but only 14.7 percent of the mothers of controls.

During pregnancy smoking contributes to significant problems in utero and after the birth problems like low birth weight and attentional difficulties.

“These findings underscore the value of ongoing public health education on the potentially debilitating and largely preventable, consequences that smoking may have on children over time,” Brown noted.

The study also showed that the mother who smoked during pregnancy have an increased risk of bipolar disorder after giving birth.(IANS)

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  • AJ Krish

    Some sacrifices are a must ,if the health of the mother and the baby are at stake.Hope they realise it really soon.

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Want to Quit Smoking (Nicotine)?: Help is Here!

Cigarettes contain Nicotine which causes addiction

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Nicotine addiction
E Cigarettes are not a solution to those who wish to quite smoking because E Cigarettes too contain Nicotine. Image credit: www.SameCondition.com

Dr. M.v. Annalarasi

We at samecondition.com in the previous articles have emphasized the need to quit smoking. Like mentioned earlier, it is true that it is easier said than done. In this article, we would like to communicate to you, in case you already didn’t know, the various recommended practices to adapt while trying to quit smoking. Apart from our articles, you might have come across several sources of the ill effects of smoking. But try adapting a different perspective to look at this issue. The beneficial effects of quitting smoking are aplenty.

It is a common knowledge that nicotine is the addictive substance that keeps you glued to smoking. But to abolish it from your life immediately can have some unfavorable implications: Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are insomnia, anxiety, difficulty to concentrate, intense craving to get your hands-on nicotine, depression etc.

To help you avoid quit as well aid you in a smooth transition towards “ the life without nicotine”, nicotine replacement products are recommended. These products are designed in such a way that they supply nicotine in controlled amounts. This would prepare your physical being to cooperate with your mental efforts to quit. Also, some of these products function on the mechanism of positive reinforcement and desensitizing the nicotine receptors by the nicotine replacement. Some of these products are sold under prescription and some are available over the counter. These are Nicotine transdermal patches, lozenges, inhaler, nasal spray, and chewing gums.

The safety of ‘the otherwise effective nicotine replacement therapy’ during pregnancy, remains to be determined. Nicotine in any form still poses a threat to the fetus. If you are a pregnant woman or have been diagnosed with any health condition like asthma, COPD, diabetes, hypertension, it is advisable to better consult a physician before buying these products on your own.

  1. Nicotine (Transdermal) patches: recommended not to be used alongside cigarette smoking. It has the advantage of moderating and maintaining sustainable levels of nicotine ( lesser than in cigarettes).

 2Nasal spray: available as prescription-only drug and the dosage delivered is tapered over time.

3. Gum: a slow release resin containing nicotine and polacrilin. It has a proved smoking cessation track record of up to 70%. ( available over the counter).

Each of these substances come with their own side effects like sore throat, dry mouth, nausea, dyspepsia etc. But the effects are controlled over a period and hence signal safety with uncontested clarity.

4. Medications: There are some non-nicotine containing pharmacotherapeutic substances (FDA approved and primary line of management) that come to your aid in ‘the quit smoking movement’. Two common examples are Bupropion hydrochloride and Varenicline tartrateClonidine, an alpha-2 adrenergic receptor agonist, used for treating hypertension has also demonstrated considerable efficacy but not FDA approved. Yet, it has been endorsed by the US clinical practice guidelines to be prescribed as a second line of treatment for tobacco addiction. Next in line is Nortriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant, primarily prescribed to treat depression. It has also exhibited potential as the second line of treatment. The research to make patches with this drug is still under process.

An alkaloid called cytisine binds to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and in some clinical studies has proved to be superior to the replacement therapy.

Some of these are available commercially and some are still in the process to reach approval. It is heartening to know that the efforts to help people trying to quit are on the rise. Check the approval status of the drugs on the regulatory websites of your country. It is even better to approach a physician to get yourself a medically accurate blueprint to quit smoking.

Did you know? Nicotine vaccines might also become a reality soon. This new line of immunotherapy for smoking cessation is also underway.

Remember:

The harms due to tobacco will stay away from you if you stay away from tobacco.

The article first appeared at Same Condition website: https://www.samecondition.com/blog/trying-quit-nicotine-dont-struggle-alone/

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Immunotherapy Drug Pembrolizumab May Treat Rare Pregnancy Cancer, Says Research

An immunotherapy drug - Pembrolizumab- has the potential to treat a rare pregnancy cancer belonging to a group of diseases called gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD), results of a clinical trial show

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Immunotherapy Drug May Treat Rare Pregnancy Cancer. Pixabay.

London, Nov 27: An immunotherapy drug has the potential to treat a rare pregnancy cancer belonging to a group of diseases called gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD), results of a clinical trial show.

Three out of four patients with the cancerous forms of GTD went into remission after receiving the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab in a clinical trial carried out by researchers at London’s Imperial College.

The findings, published in the journal Lancet, suggest that immunotherapy could be used as a a safer alternative to conventional treatment for the disease.

Pembrolizumab is the trial drug/ immunotherapeutic agent:

The trial, which took place at Charing Cross Hospital, is the first to show that Pembrolizumab can be used to successfully treat women with GTD, according to the study

The researchers hope that this small early stage study could provide another treatment option for women who have drug-resistant GTD and lead to a 100 per cent cure rate.

“We have been able to show for the first time that immunotherapy may be used to cure patients of cancerous GTD,” said Professor Michael Seckl, lead author of the study.

The current treatments to tackle GTD cure most cases of the disease. However, there are a small number of women whose cancers are resistant to conventional therapies and as a result have a fatal outcome,” Seckl added.

“Immunotherapy may be a life-saving treatment and can be used as an alternative to the much more toxic high dose chemotherapy that is currently used,” Seckl said.

GTD is the term used to describe abnormal cells or tumors that start in the womb from cells that normally give rise to the placenta. They are extremely rare but can happen during or after pregnancy.

Globally, 18,000 women are diagnosed annually with cancerous forms of GTD, most of whom are cured with chemotherapy or surgery.

However, up to five per cent of these women’s outcomes are fatal due to factors such as chemotherapy resistance and rare forms of the cancer such as placental site trophoblastic tumours (PSTT) that develop four or more years after the causative pregnancy has ended. (IANS)

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Breastmilk Aids to Combat Food Allergies in Newborns, says Research

Breastmilk of nursing mothers can help in protecting the newborns from developing food allergies, suggests a new research

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Breastmilk aids in combatting diseases in Newborns. Pixabay.

New York, Nov 23: Breastmilk of nursing mothers who eat foods that commonly cause allergy, such as milk, eggs, peanut, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish during pregnancy can help protect newborns from developing food allergies, suggests a new research.

The mouse study, led by the University of Michigan, showed that when a nursing or pregnant mother is exposed to a food protein, it combines with her antibodies, which are transferred to the offspring through breasmilk and breastfeeding.

The food protein-antibody complexes are then introduced to the offspring’s developing immune system, triggering the production of protective T immune cells that suppress allergic reactions to the food.

These protective cells also persist after antibodies from the mother are gone, promoting long-term tolerance to the food.

The findings support the recent allergy prevention guidelines, which reject prior advice urging mothers to avoid high allergic foods during pregnancy or while breastfeeding breastmilk.

“This controlled study shows that mothers should feel free to eat a healthy and diverse diet throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding,” said James R. Baker, Professor at the University of Michigan.

“Eating a range of nutritious foods during pregnancy and breastfeeding will not promote food allergies in developing babies, and may protect them from food allergy,” Baker said.

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, showed that breast milk from mothers who consumed allergenic foods protected against food allergy, preventing anaphylaxis as well as production of immunoglobulin E and expansion of mast cells, both hallmarks of an allergic response.

Breast milk was found protective even when fed to unrelated offspring not exposed to food allergens in utero.

In other experiments, mothers who had never consumed allergenic foods were given food-specific antibodies from other mothers. This, too, protected their breastfed offspring.

Human breast milk, fed to mice with humanised immune systems (tailored to respond to human antibodies), was also protective, suggesting that the mouse findings may translate to human infants. (IANS)