Secondhand smoke during childhood may boost miscarriage risk

admin   •   January 12, 2017   •   5021

A woman lights a cigarette in this illustration picture taken in Paris, October 8, 2014. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

(Reuters Health) – Nonsmoking women who were exposed to secondhand smoke as children may have an increased risk of a miscarriage, a Chinese study suggests.

Although they had never been smokers themselves, women in the study who lived with two or more smokers as a child had a 20 percent higher risk of miscarriage, and those who were exposed to smoke five or more times per week had a 14 percent greater risk of losing a pregnancy, compared to women not exposed to secondhand smoke in childhood.

Nonsmokers who grew up with one smoker in the house, or were around smoke less than five times per week, didn’t appear to have any change in their miscarriage risk.

“Our findings support the enactment of stringent national smoke-free laws and strict enforcement in China, and promotion of smoke-free homes to protect children, as well as the need for campaigns to change social norms of smoking and passive smoking,” the authors wrote in Tobacco Control.

Shanshan Yang, a researcher at the Institute of Geriatrics at the Chinese PLA General Hospital in Beijing, and colleagues analyzed survey data for almost 20,000 women age 50 and older who live in Guangzhou, China.

About 57 percent of the women had been exposed to secondhand smoke during childhood, that is, before age 18.

The study had some limitations because the participants had to rely on memories of childhood, and the researchers were not able to assess how old the women were when they had their miscarriages or if they were exposed to secondhand smoke during their pregnancies.

Lucy Popova, a researcher with the Georgia State University School of Public Health in Atlanta, said there are considerable differences in smoking habits between the U.S. and China.

“In the U.S., smoking rates between men and women are pretty close; in China, very few women smoke while a majority of men smoke. There are also other factors (indoor smoking policies and rules, social norms) that might affect the rates of exposure to secondhand smoke in childhood,” she said.

However, Popover said the potential biological mechanisms linking secondhand smoke exposure and pregnancy loss would be the same no matter where the mother lives.

“So while a study might find different numbers of women with heavy childhood exposure to secondhand smoke, the relationship between exposure and pregnancy loss most likely will still be there,” she said.

She pointed out that three other studies, conducted in the U.S. and cited in the new report, have also shown that childhood secondhand smoke exposure is linked with pregnancy loss.

Popova added that according to the U.S. Surgeon General, there are no safe levels of exposure to secondhand smoke, even brief exposure causes immediate harm, and the only way to protect nonsmokers from the dangerous chemicals in secondhand smoke is to eliminate smoking indoors.

The authors of the report didn’t respond to a request for comment. — Shereen Lehman

SOURCE: bit.ly/2j1dieP Tobacco Control, online December 23, 2016.

Childhood secondhand smoke exposure tied to arthritis in adulthood

UNTV News   •   September 29, 2018

A man smokes a cigarette along a road in Mumbai, India, October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

(Reuters Health) – Women exposed to secondhand smoke as children may be more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than people who didn’t breathe cigarette fumes growing up, a French study suggests.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an immune system disorder that causes debilitating swelling and pain in the joints. It’s less common than osteoarthritis, which happens when cartilage on the ends of bones wears down over time.

Smoking has long been linked to an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis. But the new study suggests that secondhand smoke may also increase this risk.

Altogether, the study involved 71,248 women, including 371 who eventually developed rheumatoid arthritis. Current and former smokers who were not exposed to smoke as children were 38 percent more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who had never smoked. When current or former smokers were also exposed to secondhand smoke during childhood, they were 67 percent more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.

Among women who never smoked at all, exposure to secondhand smoke during childhood was associated with a 43 percent higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis compared with no secondhand smoke exposure growing up, although this difference was not statistically significant, meaning it was too small to rule out the possibility it was due to chance.

“In adults exposed to active smoking, the mechanism leading to rheumatoid arthritis onset is quite well understood,” said study co-author Dr. Marie-Christine Boutron-Ruault of the INSERM epidemiology and population health research center at Paris-Sud University in Villejuif, France.

Rheumatoid arthritis happens when the immune system that’s supposed to attack invaders like bacteria and viruses mistakenly attacks healthy cells. In adult smokers, changes in some proteins in the air cells of the lungs are thought to trigger this autoimmune activity, leading to rheumatoid arthritis, Boutron-Ruault said by email.

“It is highly likely that the phenomenon described in adult smokers occurs similarly in passively exposed children,” Boutron-Ruault added. “The triggering of autoimmunity in children might not be restricted to rheumatoid arthritis risk, and could possibly increase the risk of other autoimmune diseases.”

For the study, researchers examined survey data collected every three years, starting in the 1980s. Participants were 50 years old on average when they joined the study and about 54 percent of them had never smoked. About 14 percent were current smokers and 32 percent were former smokers.

The study wasn’t designed to prove whether or how secondhand smoke exposure during childhood might cause rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers also relied on women to report their smoking history and tobacco exposure during childhood, and self-reported information may not be as reliable as data from lab tests or medical records.

It’s also possible that secondhand smoke exposure during childhood increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis just because it leads to more cumulative years of smoke exposure among people who smoke as adults, said Jill Norris, a researcher at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora.

While it’s not clear that avoiding smoke exposure during childhood can prevent rheumatoid arthritis in the future, there are many other good reasons not to expose kids to secondhand smoke, Norris, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

“The general advice is that if a parent is going to smoke, they should not smoke in the home or in the car when their children are riding with them,” Norris said. “It is also important to ask any caregivers (nannies, relatives, etc) to do the same.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/2NHHJFm Rheumatology, online August 14, 2018.

Miscarriage rates triple for women with top radiation exposures

UNTV News   •   December 21, 2017

A child touches her pregnant mother’s stomach at the last stages of her pregnancy in Bordeaux April 28, 2010. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

(Reuters Health) – Pregnant women exposed to high radiation levels from sources like cell phones, wireless devices and cell towers miscarried at nearly three times the rate as those exposed to low levels, according to new research.

“I hope this study makes us rethink the notion that magnetic field non-ionizing radiation exposure is safe or has no health risk,” said lead author Dr. De-Kun Li, a senior research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California. “This is certainly something we can’t just ignore.”

Cell phones, cordless phones and other wireless devices, appliances, power lines, smart-meter networks and cell towers generate non-ionizing radiation from magnetic fields. Writing in Scientific Reports, Li and his team call rapidly proliferating electromagnetic field emissions “a ubiquitous environmental exposure and a serious looming public health challenge.”

For the study, more than 900 pregnant women in the San Francisco area carried meters that measured their exposure to electromagnetic field radiation for 24 hours. After accounting for age, race, education and smoking, expectant mothers with the highest exposure levels during their typical weekday routines were 2.7 times as likely to miscarry as women with the lowest levels.

Researchers could not determine the emission sources of the radiation. But they write that traditional sources, such as power lines and appliances, generate low-frequency magnetic fields, while emerging sources, such as cell phones and smart-meter networks, generate higher frequencies.

The results underscore the need for additional research into possible health harms of a technology to which virtually everyone in the U.S. is now exposed, whether by choice or circumstance, Li said.

“We really want people to start rethinking the assumption that magnetic-field exposure is safe,” he said in a phone interview. “We really, really need more research because everybody is exposed, including the genetically vulnerable and fetuses.”

Olga V. Naidenko, a senior science advisor with the Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C. who was not involved with the study, described the findings as “very compelling” and “very alarming.”

Like Li, she called for more research into the biological effects of electromagnetic radiation.

“We need a better understanding about what sources of non-ionizing radiation around the house most contribute to health risk, so that families – and everyone – have the necessary information to protect their health,” she said in an email.

In the meantime, she advises children and adults, especially pregnant women, to decrease exposure to electromagnetic radiation by keeping cell phones and other wireless devices away from their bodies.

“If someone is really concerned, distance is their friend,” Li said. “Keep away from the source. You don’t have to stand right next to the microwave. There’s nothing to watch anyway.”

Li said Kaiser, an integrated healthcare delivery system whose members comprise nearly one-third of the residents in its Northern California catchment area, would not issue a warning to pregnant women about electromagnetic radiation. But the California Department of Public Health did issue guidance last week that long-term use of cell phones could pose health harms.

“Although the science is still evolving, there are concerns among some public health professionals and members of the public regarding long-term, high use exposure to the energy emitted by cell phones,” Dr. Karen Smith, California’s public health officer, said in a written statement.

“We know that simple steps, such as not keeping your phone in your pocket and moving it away from your bed at night, can help reduce exposure for both children and adults,” she said.

Joel Moskowitz, director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved with the new study, said it builds on previous research, which found that electromagnetic exposure during pregnancy increased the risk of miscarriage.

“Pregnant women and couples trying to conceive children should minimize their exposure to the electromagnetic fields produced by household appliances and wireless devices, including cell phones,” he said by email.

Previous studies have linked radiation from long-term cell phone use to an increased risk of brain cancer and lower sperm counts, Naidenko said.

A federal study last year found an increased risk of cancer associated with magnetic field non-ionizing radiation exposure in rodents. Li called the findings from the National Toxicology Program “stunningly important.”

“They found the exact cell type of tumor observed in humans. To me, it’s very strong evidence it might be the same,” he said.

“We are never going to say we’re going to take away your device,” he said. “Engineers are going to figure out a way to use the device in a safe way. But if we bury our heads in the sand, that’s a travesty.”

Bullied teens more likely to smoke, drink and use drugs

UNTV News   •   May 10, 2017

FILE PHOTO – A cigarette burns in an ashtray at a pub in Prague, Czech Republic, May 8, 2017. REUTERS/David W Cerny

(Reuters Health) – Children who are bullied in fifth grade are more likely to become depressed and experiment with drugs and alcohol during their teen years than their peers who weren’t victimized by other kids, a U.S. study suggests.

Researchers followed almost 4,300 students starting in fifth grade, when they were around 11 years old. By tenth grade, 24 percent of the teens drank alcohol, 15 percent smoked marijuana and 12 percent used tobacco.

More frequent episodes of physical and emotional bullying in fifth grade were associated with higher odds of depression by seventh grade, which was in turn linked to greater likelihood of substance use later in adolescence, the study found.

“We drew on the self-medication hypothesis when trying to understand why peer victimization may lead to substance use over time,” said lead study author Valerie Earnshaw, a human development and family studies researcher at the University of Delaware in Newark.

“This suggests that people use substances to try to relieve painful feelings or control their emotions,” Earnshaw said by email. “So, youth who are bullied feel bad, or experience depressive symptoms, and then may use substances to try to feel better.”

For the study, researchers examined data from three surveys conducted from 2004 to 2011 among students at schools in Houston, Los Angeles and Birmingham, Alabama.

Students were asked if they had used tobacco, alcohol or marijuana in the past 30 days and how often they had been victims of bullying by their peers in the previous year. Questions on peer victimization touched on both physical aggression like shoving and kicking as well as emotional taunts like saying nasty things about them to other kids.

At the start of the study in fifth grade, about 10 percent of participants said they had been victims of bulling. This was more common among kids who had chronic illnesses, sexual minorities and boys.

By seventh grade, almost 2 percent of the students reported symptoms of depression.

And by the end of the study in tenth grade, substance use was more common among the kids who had previously reported bullying and depression.

The study isn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove that bullying directly causes depression or that mental health issues directly cause substance use. Another limitation of the study is its reliance on teens to accurately report any episodes of bullying, symptoms of depression or substance use, the authors note.

It’s also possible that teens who are bullied may later wind up drinking or using drugs because their peer groups include many adolescents who do both of these things, whether on sports teams or among crowds of particularly aggressive kids, said Bonnie Leadbeater, a psychology researcher at the University of Victoria in Canada.

“Being ‘trapped’ in these networks can be particularly problematic in high school, where you see the same people every day,” Leadbeater, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

“Youth with multiple networks beyond school through sports, music, art, religious activities, volunteering and work are more apt to find friends and others who see their talents, strengths and abilities,” Leadbeater added. “These strengths are often established in late elementary school.”

The trouble with bullying that leads to mental health problems is that teens with depression and anxiety are more likely to withdraw from peers and lack interest in most things.

“Young teens need to have ways of dealing with peer conflict before it becomes bullying,” Leadbeater said. “Young teens need to believe that getting help is normative and that bullying is not.” — By Lisa Rapaport

SOURCE: bit.ly/2q0qRAQ Pediatrics, online May 9, 2017.

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.