Environmental tobacco smoke linked to behavioral problems in boys with asthma



A new University of Leicester study reveals that screening people who are at risk of developing diabetes could be a cost-effective health policy and improve the lives of patients. In her inaugural lecture on Wednesday 12th November, Dr Clare Gillies of the Department of Health Sciences will reveal the results of her simulation study investigating

Full Post: New study highlights potential for cost effective NHS policy

Boys with asthma who are exposed to environmental tobacco smoke have higher degrees of hyperactivity, aggression, depression and other behavioral problems, according to researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

In a study posted online ahead of print by the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics , the researchers said behavioral problems increase along with higher exposure levels, but they added even low levels of tobacco smoke may be detrimental to behavior.

“These findings should encourage us to make stronger efforts to prevent childhood exposure to tobacco smoke, especially among higher risk populations, such as children with asthma,” said Kimberly Yolton, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a researcher at the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Cincinnati Children’s.

Interestingly, although girls in the study were on average exposed to higher levels of tobacco smoke than boys, the exposure did not lead to an increase in behavioral problems among them, investigators said. In boys, however, behavioral problems increased about two fold with each doubling in their tobacco smoke exposure, said Dr. Yolton.

There have been studies involving adults and animals pointing to a difference in tobacco smoke’s behavioral impact on males and females. Even so, the Cincinnati Children’s authors said additional research is needed to explain why they observed different degrees of behavioral impact among the 220 boys and girls, ages 6-12, in the study.

“The largest increase we observed was in overall behavioral problems, but it was interesting that in addition to externalizing behaviors - like hyperactivity and aggression - we also saw an increase in internalizing behaviors, such as depression,” explained Dr. Yolton. “Few studies have found a link between tobacco smoke and depression in children.”

Although no data exist to specifically explain why tobacco smoke causes behavioral problems in children with asthma, Dr. Yolton said there is “quite a bit of evidence” that nicotine in tobacco smoke affects development and functioning of the nervous system, as well as child development and behavior.

According to estimates provided by parents, children in the current study were exposed to an average of 13 cigarettes a day. Parent estimates are frequently used in research as a gauge of child tobacco smoke exposure, but the current study went a step further because parental estimates can be inaccurate, said Dr. Yolton, also an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

Investigators also measured the cotinine levels in the children’s blood. Cotinine is a byproduct, or metabolite, of nicotine and is often used as a biomarker to more accurately measure tobacco smoke exposure.

The researchers compared cotinine levels to behavioral patterns observed in the children during the previous two weeks. Behavioral patterns were reported by parents using the Behavioral Assessment System for Children (BASC). The BASC is a standardized survey for measuring specific behaviors like hyperactivity, anxiety, attention problems, conduct problems, depression and somatization (complaining about physical problems that have no physical explanation or basis).

Researchers also accounted for other factors that might affect child’s behavior. These included socioeconomics, like a parent’s education and household income, parent mental health, asthma severity and medications used. The researchers also assessed physical and nurturing qualities of the home by using a tool called the Home Observation for Measurement of Environment (HOME). The investigators also included whether mothers smoked during pregnancy, which Dr. Yolton said allowed researchers to strengthen findings related to environmental tobacco exposure.

Among 220 children in the study, 61 percent were boys, 56 percent were African American and 77 percent had moderate to severe asthma, with the rest having mild asthma. Inclusion in the study required that, other than asthma, the children have no other health problems, including mental retardation, and that they be exposed to at least five cigarettes a day. Families participating in the research were all participants in the Cincinnati Asthma Prevention Study.

http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/

Link




If you need another reason to quit smoking, consider that it may diminish your chances of being a parent or grandparent. Scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center have found that women exposed to second hand smoke, either as adults or children, were significantly more likely to face fertility problems and suffer miscarriages. An

Full Post: Passive smoking raises odds of fertility problems in women



How about the fact that even if you choose to smoke outside of your home or only smoke in your home when your children are not there - thinking that you’re keeping them away from second-hand smoke - you’re still exposing them to toxins? In the January issue of Pediatrics , researchers at MassGeneral Hospital for

Full Post: Need another reason to add “Quit Smoking” to your New Year’s resolutions list?



Children under the age of three who had hernia surgery showed almost twice the risk of behavioral or developmental problems later compared to children who had not undergone the surgery, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The study included 383

Full Post: General anesthesia for hernia surgery in children and risk of later developmental problems



Previous studies have shown that babies exposed to tobacco in utero are more likely to have a low birth weight and are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome. Now new research by The Miriam Hospital reveals that these babies are also less likely to self-soothe and are more aroused and excitable than newborns

Full Post: Babies exposed to tobacco in utero more irritable, difficult to soothe



The neck arteries of obese children and teens look more like those of 45-year-olds, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2008. “There’s a saying that ‘you’re as old as your arteries,’ meaning that the state of your arteries is more important than your actual age in the evolution of heart

Full Post: Neck arteries of obese children and teens look more like those of 45-year-olds