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

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid