Navigation path

Themes
Agriculture & food
Energy
Environment
ERA-NET
Health & life sciences
  Allergy & asthma
  Biotechnology
  Communicable diseases
  Drugs & drug processes
  Genetic engineering
  Genomics
  Health & ageing
  Health & poverty
  Health & special needs
  Health systems & management
  Major diseases
  Medical research
  Molecular biology
  Neuroscience
  Public health
  Rare & orphan diseases
  Other
Human resources & mobility
Industrial research
Information society
Innovation
International cooperation
Nanotechnology
Pure sciences
Research infrastructures
Research policy
Science & business
Science in society
Security
SMEs
Social sciences and humanities
Space
Special Collections
Transport

Countries
Countries
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Finland
  France
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece
  Hungary
  Iceland
  India
  Ireland
  Israel
  Italy
  Japan
  Kazakhstan
  Kenya
  Korea
  Latvia
  Lichtenstein
  Lithuania
  Luxembourg
  Madagascar
  Malta
  Mexico
  Montenegro
  Morocco
  Namibia
  Netherlands
  Nigeria
  Norway
  Peru
  Poland
  Portugal
  Romania
  Russia
  Senegal
  Serbia
  Slovakia
  Slovenia
  South Africa
  Spain
  Sri Lanka
  Swaziland
  Sweden
  Switzerland
  Taiwan
  Tanzania
  Tunisia
  Turkey
  Uganda
  Ukraine
  United Kingdom
  United States


   Health & life sciences

Last Update: 09-10-2012  
Related category(ies):
Health & life sciences  |  Science in society

 

Countries involved in the project described in the article:
Spain
Add to PDF "basket"

Passive smoking affects neurodevelopment in babies

Newborns exposed to nicotine from both active and passive smoking mothers show poor physiological, sensory, motor and attention responses. These are the results of new research carried out in the Behaviour Evaluation and Measurement Research Centre (CRAMC) of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain, and published in the journal Early Human Development.

Smoking harms both mother and child © Shutterstock
Smoking harms both mother and child
©  Shutterstock

Smoking is still widespread in Europe. Approximately 29 per cent of Europeans smoke and 695 000 Europeans die prematurely of tobacco-related causes, making it the largest single cause of preventable death. In financial terms, smoking costs the EU countries at least EUR 100 billion. Smoking during pregnancy is one of the biggest yet avoidable causes of illness and death for both mother and infant. Nonetheless, epidemiological studies show that between 11 % and 30 % of pregnant women smoke or are passively exposed to tobacco smoke.

This new research may make smokers take note of the impact their smoking has on infants and their development.

Smoking during pregnancy has already been linked to many different problems in infants like learning difficulties, attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity and even obesity. The mothers are also affected, as statistics show that women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have vaginal bleeding, placental abruption or a stillbirth. However, while the paediatric and obstetric disorders linked to tobacco during this stage have been well documented, the effects on neonatal behaviour have not yet been studied in depth.

The new study, headed by experts at the CRAMC tries to bridge this knowledge gap and analyses the effects of passive smoking during pregnancy on the newborn.

The scientists began by evaluating the behaviour of 282 healthy newborns using the Neonatal Behavioural Evaluation Scale. This allows for interaction with the newborn in order to evaluate its behaviour and responses between 48 and 72 hours after birth.
From those mothers studied, 22 per cent smoked during pregnancy, while close to 6 per cent were exposed to passive smoking. Out of the smoking mothers, 12.4 per cent had between 1 and 5 cigarettes a day, 6.7 per cent had between 6 and 10 a day; and 2.8 per cent had between 10 and 15 a day. None smoked more than 15 cigarettes a day.

'Newborns who have had intrauterine exposure to nicotine, whether in an active or passive way, show signs of being more affected in terms of their neurobehavioural development. This could be an indicator of pathologies, independently of sociodemographic, obstetric and paediatric factors,' explains Josefa Canals, the lead author of the study.

The results reveal that those born to smoking and passive smoking mothers score low in their ability to inhibit stimuli that could alter the central nervous system. Furthermore, children of passive smoking mothers have poor motor development and those of smoking mothers have less ability to regulate behaviour and response in physiological, sensor, motor and attention terms.

'Health professionals should encourage future mothers and their families to eliminate or reduce tobacco consumption,' states Professor Canals, who outlined the importance of informing mothers on the effects of involuntary exposure to cigarette smoke in order to prevent direct damage to the foetus and infant development. When a pregnant woman smokes, nicotine concentrations in the foetus outstrip those found in the mother by more than 15 per cent. In Spain, 43.5 per cent of women between 25 and 44 years of age smoke, but during pregnancy this percentage falls to approximately 26.6 per cent.

'However, although women tend to reduce their normal tobacco consumption when falling pregnant, the key is to study the effects of exposure to small amounts of smoke on foetal development,' concluded Professor Canals.


Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also

Rovira i Virgili University
Early Human Development





  Top   Research Information Center