Researchers have discovered that prenatal exposure to secondhand smoke can have adverse effects on lung health that persist into adulthood.

Secondhand smoke exposure before birth may affect lungs into adulthood

ORIGINAL ARTICLE BY Catharine Paddock PhD of Medical News Today HERE

Adult susceptibility to lung diseases may depend on prenatal exposure to secondhand smoke.  So suggest scientists who found that exposing pregnant mice to secondhand smoke caused changes in the lung function and structure of their offspring that lasted into adulthood.

A report on the study – which was led by researchers at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge – is published in the journal Respiratory Research.

Secondhand smoke is that produced by the burning of tobacco products such as cigars, cigarettes, and pipes that can be inhaled by people nearby.

Breathing in secondhand smoke is also known as passive smoking.  Smoke that is exhaled by someone who is smoking is also classed as secondhand smoke.

Hundres of the 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke are toxic – that is, they cause some degree of harm to the body.  These include 70 that can cause cancer.

Around 890,000 of the 7 million people killed by tobacco worldwide every year are nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

In the United States, around 2.5 million nonsmokers have died in the past 50 years from diseases caused by inhaling secondhand smoke.

Exposure is declining

Tests for tobacco biomarkers in the saliva, urine, and blood of nonsmokers show that exposure to secondhand smoke has fallen steadily in the U.S. in recent decades.

In the years 2011 to 2012, around 25 percent of nonsmokers had measurable levels of tobacco biomarkers, compared with nearly 90 percent during the years between 1988 and 1991.

However, despite measures to reduce smoking, a significant number of nonsmokers – approximately 58 million between 2011 and 2012 – are still exposed to secondhand smoke in the U.S.

In their study report, the researchers cite well documented evidence that offspring of women who smoked during pregnancy have altered lung function and a higher rate of respiratory problems.

They also note that there is growing evidence that exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy can affect the development of the unborn baby and result in a low birthweight and a higher risk of disease in adulthood.

Damage to lung tissue

However, what is not so well known is the extent to which exposure to secondhand smoke in pregnancy may affect fetal lung development, and if it does, how long the effects endure.

To investigate this further, the team exposed one group of pregnant mice to secondhand smoke mixed with filtered air and exposed another group just to filtered air.  When the offspring were born, they were then raised only in filtered air.

The researchers used filtered air in order to remove any potential influence from air particles not arising from secondhand smoke.

When the offspring reached adulthood at 15 weeks old, the researchers carried out a series of exams on their lungs, including measurement of lung function, tests for tissue damage, and molecular analysis.  They compared the results of the exposed mice to those of the non-exposed mice.

The results showed that adult mice that had been exposed to secondhand smoke before birth had changes in their lungs that suggested tissue damage.

Lung function tests in adult mice showed significantly lower tidal volume (how much air is inhaled and exhaled per breath during normal breathing) and minute volume (how much is inhaled and exhaled per minute) in the males that had been exposed to secondhand smoke before birth, but not the females.

Gene alterations

The molecular analysis showed that the lung tissue of the exposed mice had several altered genes.

One of the altered genes, called alpha-1-antitrypsin, is also common to humans.  Deficiency in the protein that the gene codes for can raise the risk of emphysema and other diseases.

The researchers note that their findings are consistent with studies that show lung development differs in male and female fetuses, and they suggest that “male mice may be more susceptible than female mice to insults occurring during lung development.”

The study is limited by the fact that it was carried out on mice under experimental conditions.  Secondhand smoke may not have the same effect on human fetuses, and the levels used in the experiment may not be the same as those encountered by pregnant women in real life.

Nonetheless, the authors suggest that their findings may explain the link between secondhand smoke exposure before birth and a higher risk of respiratory diseases later in life.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE BY Catharine Paddock PhD of Medical News Today HERE

×

Upcoming Events

Attending any of these upcoming events? Have other events to share? Let us know! Email us at NNN@ITCMI.ORG to share your event information or to get on our list serve for event updates.

 

Colorectal Cancer Screening in American Indian & Alaska Native Communities - Tuesday, November 28, 2017, 2 p.m. EST - NCCRT Webinar.  Explore CRC screening in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities.  This webinar will provide a brief overview of the NCCRT and ACS's April 2016 summit on CRC and AI/AN communities to describe ACS's recent grants to increase screening for AI/AN-serving primary care clinics.  We will also hear from two Ai/An-serving organizations that are implementing innovative strategies to increase CRC screening in the communities they serve.  Speakers will include:  Laura Makaroff of ACS, Jessica Deaton of the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, and Richard Mousseau of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board.  REGISTER HERE

WEBINAR - 2018 Clinical Scholar Applicants - A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program - Wednesday, November 29, 2017, 3:30 p.m. EDT - Do these statements apply to you?:  Are you a health care professional working with kids, adults, or families in a community in the U.S. or U.S. Territories? | Are you motivated to improve the health of those most vulnerable in your community? | Do you have a desire to further develop your leadership skills? | If yes, REGISTER HERE.

Tobacco Listening Session - Kalamazoo, Michigan - LEARN MORE

Community Foods Projects Competitive Grant Program, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Applications due December 4, 2017 For more information, CLICK HERE

National Institute of Food and Agriculture requests applications for the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program for fiscal year 2018. The estimated total program funding in fiscal year 2018 is approximately $8,640,000. The Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program funds two types of grants, Community Food Projects and Planning Projects. The primary goals of the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program are to:

·         Meet the food needs of low-income individuals through food distribution, community outreach to assist in participation in Federally assisted nutrition programs, or improving access to food as part of a comprehensive service;

·         Increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for the food needs of the communities;

·         Promote comprehensive responses to local food access, farm, and nutrition issues; and

·         Meet specific state, local or neighborhood food and agricultural needs including needs relating to: Equipment necessary for the efficient operation of a project; Planning for long-term solutions; or The creation of innovative marketing activities that mutually benefit agricultural producers and low-income consumers.

Eligible applicants include public food program service providers, tribal organizations, or private nonprofit entities, including gleaners.

A webinar will be held on Monday October 16, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time for potential applicants. The Adobe Connect link is: http://nifa-connect.nifa.usda.gov/cfp2018/.

Full details can be found at: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=297333

CDC FUNDING OPPORTUNITY - DEADLINE:  December 11, 2017 - "Cooperative Agreement for Emergency Response:  Public Health Crisis Response" - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a notice of funding opportunity:  Cooperative Agreement for Emergency Response:  Public Health Crisis Response.  The purpose of this opportunity is to "enhance the nation's ability to rapidly respond to public health emergencies, which may include infectious disease outbreaks, pandemics, and other public health emergencies that exceed the capacity of jurisdictional public health resources."  Since initial funding and response can impact health outcomes after an emergency, this award opportunity allows applicants to be pre-approved so they can be funded quickly after an emergency occurs, allowing applicants to better prepare for emergency plans now.  CDC may also fund some pre-award costs.  Tribal governments may apply if they meet eligibility requirements and serve at least 50,000 people through their public health infrastructures.  LEARN MORE HERE.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY - Public Health Institute is accepting applications for the National Leadership Academy for the Public's Health from teams in the Appalachian and Mid-regions of the United States.  "For communities that are engaged in cross-sector work to improve the public health, this is an opportunity to boost your team's capacity and skills through a community leadership process."  Deadline January 12, 2018 - LEARN MORE

Funding Opportunity - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - Policies for Action:  Policy and Law Research to Build a Culture of Health - HERE