Tuesday June 18, 2019

Study: Smoking During Pregnancy can Cause Hearing Loss in Baby

Children who were exposed to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and second-hand smoke at 4 months had a 2.4 times increased relative risk

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Pregnancy, air pollution
Sleeping for long hours during pregnancy linked to stillbirths. Pixabay

If you are planning to start motherhood, quit smoking, say researchers. Exposing your baby to tobacco smoke during pregnancy or after the birth may cause hearing impairment in them.

According to the researchers, babies who were exposed to smoking during pregnancy had a 68 per cent increased relative risk of developing hearing problems.

“This study clearly shows that preventing exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and postnatally may reduce the risk of hearing problems in children,” said Koji Kawakami from the Kyoto University in Japan.

The study, published in the journal Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, included data from 50,734 children aged 3 years.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

Out of the group, 3.8 per cent were exposed to smoking only during pregnancy, 3.9 per cent were exposed only to second-hand smoke at 4 months and 0.9 per cent were exposed to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and at 4 months.

The results showed that the prevalence of hearing impairment among babies aged three who were exposed to smoke was 4.6 per cent while those exposed to only second-hand smoke at 4 months had a 30 per cent increased relative risk.

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Children who were exposed to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and second-hand smoke at 4 months had a 2.4 times increased relative risk.

“The findings remind us of the need to continue strengthening interventions to prevent smoking before and during pregnancy and exposure to second-hand smoke in children,” Kawakami added. (IANS)

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Smoking May Increase Risk of Developing Hypertension, Warn Researchers

The results were published in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology

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FILE - New findings show that smoking causes devastating genetic damage, or mutations, in the cells of various organs in the body. VOA

Smoking may increase the risk of developing hypertension by impairing the body’s blood pressure autocorrect system, warn researchers.

“The human body has a buffering system that continuously monitors and maintains a healthy blood pressure. If blood pressure drops, a response called muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) is triggered to bring blood pressure back up to normal levels,” said Lawrence Sinoway from Penn State University in the US.

An additional system — called the baroreflex — helps correct if blood pressure gets too high, he added.

According to Sinoway, the study found that after a burst of MSNA, the rise in blood pressure in a chronic smoker was about twice as great as in a non-smoker, pushing blood pressure to unhealthy levels. The researchers suspect that impairment of baroreflex may be the culprit.

“When the sympathetic nervous system fires, like with MSNA, your blood pressure rises and then a series of things happen to buffer that increase, to try to attenuate it,” Sinoway said.

“We think that in smokers, that buffering — the baroreflex — is impaired.”

Other than chronic diseases, lifestyle habits like smoking causes cancer too. Pixabay
Other than chronic diseases, lifestyle habits like smoking causes cancer too. Pixabay

The results suggest that this impairment may be connected to hypertension, said Jian Cui, Associate Professor at Penn State College of Medicine.

“The greater rise in blood pressure in response to MSNA may contribute to a higher resting blood pressure level in smokers without hypertension,” Cui said.

“It’s possible that this higher response to MSNA could also contribute to the eventual development of hypertension,” Cui added.

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The researchers said that while previous research has found a link between chronic smokers and higher levels of MSNA bursts, less was known about what happened to blood pressure after these bursts.

For the study, the researchers examined 60 participants — 18 smokers and 42 non-smokers. None of the participants had hypertension.

The results were published in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. (IANS)