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Smoking during pregnancy increases risk of SIDS
Date:5/30/2008

A new study provides the most direct evidence that there exists a causal link between smoking during pregnancy and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Clinicians have long considered prenatal cigarette smoke exposure a major contributing risk factor for SIDS, but researchers had not proved a casual relationship. Other contributing factors include disturbances of breathing and heart rate regulation and impaired arousal responses, thermal stress (primarily overheating from too high temperatures or too much clothing) and sleeping in the prone (belly-down) position.

Since the advocacy of back to sleep position, smoking during pregnancy has become the principal risk factor for SIDS, said Dr. Shabih Hasan, staff neonatologist and associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of Calgary, and the principal investigator of the new study, which appears in the first issue for June of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, a publication of the American Thoracic Society.

Our results provide some of the most direct evidence to date suggesting that prenatal cigarette smoke exposure can contribute to the destabilizing effects of hypoxia and thermal stress on neonatal breathing, said Dr. Hasan.

To investigate the compounding effects of cigarette smoking on other known risk factors for SIDS, namely thermal and oxygen stress, researchers exposed pregnant rat pups to either room air (control) or mainstream cigarette smoke equivalent to that a pack-a-day smoker would experience.

Our approach sought to quantify the effects of cigarette smoke holistically, rather than using nicotine exposure as a proxy for cigarette smoke. Nicotine is just one of the 4,700 known toxins in cigarette smoke that could have protracted effects on embryonic development and postnatal growth, said Dr Hasan.

In this study, both plasma nicotine levels in the mothers and reduced birth weight in the pups were compar
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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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