Prenatal smoking linked to acute asthma in teen years
A recent study has revealed that children of a smoker mother are more prone to symptoms of acute asthma than asthma sufferers whose mothers did not smoke.
The study was carried by a research team at UCSF, which involved the analysis of nearly 2,500 Latino and African-American children with asthma and found that children between age 8 and 17 with acute asthma symptoms were likely to have had mothers who smoked during her pregnancy, even when the team controlled for elements such as education, socio-economic level and childhood exposure to tobacco smoke.
"If women smoked while pregnant, their children had about a 50 percent increase in uncontrolled asthma, even when we controlled for current tobacco exposure," said Sam S. Oh, PhD, MPH, a postdoctoral scholar in epidemiology at the UCSF Centre for Tobacco Research and Education, who is first author on the paper.
"Kids who are 17 years old still show the effects of something they were exposed to during the first nine months of life," he explained.
Extensive research has shown the adverse effect of smoking on asthma risk in young children, though, the relative contribution of smoking during pregnancy has still not been well established, with even less number of research focused on the populations that are more likely to use tobacco during pregnancy time, according to the researchers.
The study found that the exact time of tobacco consumption during pregnancy - whether it was during the first three months or last - was less important than whether they smoked at all, although children with severe symptoms were more likely to have had mothers who smoked during the entire nine months.
"Most mothers tend to quit smoking as pregnancy progresses, with the majority quitting by the end of the first trimester. But in African-American and Puerto Rican mothers, not only did they smoke more frequently, but they also smoked for a longer time during pregnancy," Oh said.
The researchers said the findings suggests two possible causes: either the infant's lungs gets damaged during the early development in the womb or in utero exposure to tobacco smoke leads to a genetic change that carries over to the next generation.
The details of the findings will appear in the forthcoming issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
-With inputs from ANI
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