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Smoking during pregnancy does have long-term harmful effects on children

Smoking during pregnancy not only compromises the normal development of the baby, but also adversely affects the overall health of the newborn. A pernicious effect also remains the long term. The results of a study conducted by researchers at the University of Oulu (Finland) and published in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology show that young men whose mothers smoked during pregnancy have a worse physical form.

As Dr. Maria Hagnäs, director of the research, alerts “it is well known that smoking and exposure to smoke snuff during pregnancy is harmful to both mother and baby. And now, our findings provide new evidence on the long-term negative impact of snuff during pregnancy. Thus, pregnant women should be counseled and assisted to leave the snuff, as well as maintaining a healthy weight that minimizes the risks for their babies”.

Not surprisingly, the study also concludes that a body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy and excessive weight gain during pregnancy also imply that children have a lower aerobic capacity. That is, requiring more effort when performing any physical activity.

Avoid smoking at all costs

Smoking during pregnancy is associated with numerous adverse effects on the proper development of a baby; among others are cases of increased risk of spontaneous abortion, ectopic pregnancy or premature birth. Babies can suffer neurological, physiological or behavioral complications. Do not forget that, as numerous studies have shown, newborns are more likely to have asthma, pneumonia and obesity as well as of dying from sudden death. Quitting smoking is one of the most important things can do pregnant women to improve health, development and growth of their babies.

And more – smoking during pregnancy also causes long-term effects, at least in the case of men. It is seen in this study conducted with 508 young people with an average age of 19, those born by mothers who smoked one or more cigarettes daily during pregnancy – 59 total participants have a worse aerobic capacity.

Therefore, it is important that women understand the risks of smoking during pregnancy. And in the case of women who are unable to quit, it must be emphasized to refrain from smoking during pregnancy, using nicotine replacement therapies or, if necessary, to smoke as little as possible.

Another benefit of sex

For decades there have been theories about the genetic advantage of sexual reproduction, but so far none had been tested in humans. Researchers at the University of Montreal and Research Center Hospital Sainte-Justine University in Montreal (Canada) have just demonstrated how bias humanity to the disease gradually decreases as we mix our genetic material.

When humans breed, generation after generation, exchange of genetic material between man and woman makes our species evolves slowly. The chromosomes of the mother and father are recombined to create your child’s chromosomes. Scientists have long known, however, that the genomes of parents do not mix evenly. Recombine more frequently in some segments of the genome, while the recombination is less frequent in others. Said segments of low recombination frequency, eventually recombine and others, to make it take many generations.

This paper is published in ‘Nature Genetics’, specifically, the team of Canadian researchers found the following: segments that human genome do not recombine with the same frequency that others tend to carry a proportion significantly more genetic mutations linked with the onset of the disease. Until finally the chromosome recombination is made, these segments accumulate more and more bad mutations. In other words, in terms of disease susceptibility, our genetic material actually worsens instead of improving. Fortunately, mutations that favor the disease are finally eliminated of our genetic code through sexual reproduction. The process can last hundreds of generations.

The relevance of this work is that it gives us a better understanding of how we, as humans, we have more or less at risk of developing or contracting diseases, tells us where to look in the human genome to find mutations that promote disease, which should accelerate the discovery and identification of mutations associated with specific diseases. Researchers believe that this new information will help develop treatments and more effective prevention programs.