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New evidence strengthens link between cigarette smoke exposure and poor infant health
Date:11/4/2008

Cincinnati, OH, November 5, 2008--The damaging effects of smoking and smoke exposure can be seen at any age. Pediatricians have even noted these negative effects in various stages of infant development. The consequences of maternal smoke exposure during pregnancy can range from higher rates of prematurity to increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Two new studies and an accompanying editorial soon to be published in The Journal of Pediatrics examine several physical and behavioral effects of cigarette smoke exposure on infants.

In an attempt to understand the relationship between maternal smoking and certain birth defects, Dr. Gary Shaw of the March of Dimes and colleagues from institutes in Norway, Holland, and Texas, studied serum samples collected between 2003 and 2005 from pregnant women enrolled in the California Expanded AFP (alpha fetoprotein) program. The researchers measured the levels of cotinine, a metabolite of nicotine, to determine whether the mothers smoked during pregnancy. They found that women who smoked during pregnancy were nearly 2.5 times more likely to have babies with oral clefts. According to Dr. Shaw, "Babies with oral clefts require significant medical careoften four surgeries by age twoand may have speech, hearing, and feeding problems."

In a related study, Dr. Laura Stroud and colleagues from Brown University studied the effects of cigarette smoke exposure on infant behavior. The researchers studied 56 otherwise healthy infants and used questionnaires and cotinine measurements to determine cigarette smoke exposure. They found that the 28 babies who had been exposed to cigarette smoke were more irritable and difficult to sooth than the 28 babies who were not exposed. Dr. Stroud stresses the importance of cessation programs for smoking mothers, as well as programs to help new mothers manage a baby who is difficult to soothe.

Offering a fresh perspective in their related editorial, D
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Contact: Brigid Huey
journal.pediatrics@cchmc.org
513-636-7140
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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