Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cigarettes, unborn children and heart disease: the link.

For many years, scientists have known about the phenomenon known as biological imprinting: the classic example is in geese. When the young gosling hatches from its shell it thinks that the first thing it sees must be its mother. So the canny owner of a flock of geese makes sure that when the goslings hatch, he/she is the first thing they see, so that when it comes to getting them to follow you wherever they may go - even if it's to market - then they will follow the human "mother" and not the feathered version.

Now there is an update on biological imprinting as it pertains to health: and it concerns the impact it can have on the unborn infant later in life. "We have found distinct links between cigarette smoking or even using nicotine patches or gum and the long-term harm for the child," says Dr. DaLiao Xiao, a scientist who works at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California.

Naturally, being researchers, they have done their initial research on rats, and what they found is that exposure of the unborn rats to nicotine - in whatever form it may be, either through cigarettes or patches - resulted in raised blood pressure, or Hypertension. Nicotine appears to release a chemical that has a direct and permanent effect that alters the normal behaviour of the blood vessel. "This faulty programming is then carried throughout the individual's life and may lead to high blood pressure in adults".

If these findings are confirmed in humans, then this is something that will be beyond the ability of the sufferer to counteract by lifestyle changes. The only way to prevent this will be by both parents making sure that their unborn child is not exposed to nicotine in any shape or form.
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