News / Health

Study: Pregnant Women Who Smoke Predispose Great-Grandchildren to Asthma

Jessica Berman
According to a new study, women who smoke while pregnant not only increase the risk that their children and grandchildren will develop asthma, but also that their great-grandchildren will face a higher risk for the sometimes deadly lung ailment. The findings come at a time when the number of asthma cases worldwide is climbing.

Experts have known for some time that women who smoke during pregnancy increase their non-smoking offspring’s and grandchildren's risk of developing asthma.

That’s because nicotine appears to make changes to DNA, creating a biological legacy, according to Virender Rehan, a neonatologist and biomedical researcher at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in California.

“And we speculate.. on how nicotine might be affecting lung development in subsequent generations,” said Rehan.

Now comes the latest finding by Rehan and colleagues, suggesting expectant mothers who smoke also may transmit asthma to their non-smoking great-grandchildren.

In a study of pregnant rats, investigators gave the rodents daily injections of nicotine for almost three weeks until they gave birth.

A second group of pregnant rats received placebos or injections of an inactive substance. All of the rat pups were allowed to breast feed as much as they wanted before being weaned.

The young rats from the original mothers were then bred for up to three generations. At no time were any of these rodents exposed to nicotine.

Scientists next conducted a series of tests similar to those given to humans to diagnose the lung ailment. Rehan says the offspring of all of the rats exposed to nicotine showed signs of asthma.

“This is very well established that this is seen in the pups of the generation which is directly affected by nicotine. But the key findings of this study that we’ve taken not only the directly exposed generation, but to [the] subsequent generation and then [to the] subsequent generation.”

Experts say some 300 million people around the world suffer from asthma, a condition sometimes requiring emergency medical care when the airways become inflamed and swell rapidly in reaction to triggers including dust, pollen or medications, causing a serious narrowing of the airways. The number of asthma sufferers is expected to climb to 400 million by 2025.

An article on smoking’s effect on the great-grandchildren of pregnant women is published in the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid