Smok­ers’ breast-fed ba­bies sleep less soundly

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health -

SMOK­ING moth­ers could be pass­ing on more than just nu­tri­ents to their ba­bies while breast-feed­ing. A new study pub­lished in the jour­nal Pe­di­atrics shows that the breast milk of cig­a­rette smok­ers con­tains nico­tine and can dis­rupt ba­bies’ sleep­ing pat­terns. The study in­cluded 15 breast-fed in­fants aged be­tween two and seven months of age, whose moth­ers were all cur­rent smok­ers. Each mother-child pair was tested on two sep­a­rate days, one week apart. Moth­ers smoked one to three cig­a­rettes (not in the pres­ence of their child) on the first day, and re­frained from smok­ing on the sec­ond day. On both days, moth­ers breast-fed their in­fants on de­mand over the next 3.5 hours. A sen­sor strapped to each in­fant’s an­kle al­lowed re­searchers to mea­sure ac­tiv­ity and sleep time. Nico­tine lev­els were mea­sured in breast milk sam­ples pro­vided by the moth­ers be­fore each feed. To­tal sleep time af­ter feed­ing de­clined from an av­er­age of 84 min­utes when moth­ers re­frained from smok­ing to 53 min­utes on the day they did smoke— a 37 per cent re­duc­tion. The level of sleep dis­rup­tion was di­rectly re­lated to the dose of nico­tine in­fants re­ceived from their moth­ers’ milk. Pe­di­atrics 2007;120:497-502 (Men­nella JA, et al) AV­O­CA­DOS should be in­cluded on the list of can­cer-fight­ing fruits and veg­eta­bles, ac­cord­ing to a new study in Sem­i­narsin CancerBi­ol­ogy this week. Av­o­ca­dos are rich in vi­ta­min C, fo­late, vi­ta­min E, fi­bre and un­sat­u­rated fats. By study­ing oral can­cer cells in the lab­o­ra­tory, sci­en­tists have found that the ac­tive plant chem­i­cals (phy­to­chem­i­cals) in av­o­ca­dos can kill th­ese cells while leav­ing nor­mal cells un­touched. Avo­cado ex­tract can also stop pre-can­cer­ous cells from be­com­ing full-blown can­cer. The au­thors claim that avo­cado could help to treat or even pre­vent can­cer of the mouth, and the same may hold true for other types of can­cer. One of the phy­to­chem­i­cals in avo­cado known as quercetin is able to stop the growth of prostate tu­mours in mice and de­crease the sever­ity of colon can­cer in rats. Sem­inCancerBiol 2007;doi:10.1016/j.sem­cancer. 2007.04.003 (Ding H, et al) SMOK­ERS are more likely to de­velop Alzheimer’s dis­ease or de­men­tia than non­smok­ers or those who smoked in the past, con­cludes a study in the cur­rent is­sue of Neu­rol­ogy. Re­searchers re­cruited 6868 peo­ple age 55 or older with no signs of de­men­tia at the start of the study, and fol­lowed their progress for an av­er­age of seven years. Over that time, 706 of the par­tic­i­pants de­vel­oped de­men­tia, with 555 of th­ese clas­si­fied as hav­ing Alzheimer’s dis­ease. Peo­ple who were cur­rent smok­ers at the start of the study were 47 per cent more likely to de­velop de­men­tia and 56 per cent more likely to de­velop Alzheimer’s than peo­ple who had never smoked or past smok­ers. The in­creased risk of th­ese disor­ders is most likely due to the dam­ag­ing ef­fects of smok­ing on blood ves­sels in the brain, say the au­thors. Neu­rol­ogy 2007;69:998-1005 (Reitz C, et al) OVER­WEIGHT tod­dlers and those not at­tend­ing day care are at higher risk of iron de­fi­ciency — a con­di­tion that can lead to learn­ing and be­hav­ioral prob­lems. The find­ings, pub­lished this week in Pe­di­atrics , were based on a sur­vey of 1641 Amer­i­can chil­dren aged one to three years old. Be­tween 1999 and 2002, par­tic­i­pat­ing fam­i­lies were asked to com­plete an ex­ten­sive sur­vey and un­dergo med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions. The study found that 20 per cent of over­weight tod­dlers were iron de­fi­cient, com­pared to 8 per cent of those at risk for be­ing over­weight, and 7 per cent of nor­mal-weight tod­dlers. Only five per cent of those in day care had iron de­fi­ciency, com­pared to 10 per cent of tod­dlers not at­tend­ing day care. Pe­di­atrics 2007;120:568-575 (Brotanek JM, et al) BODY-BUILD­ING and nu­tri­tional sup­ple­ments con­tain­ing an an­tiox­i­dant called N-acetyl­cys­teine (NAC) may not be as safe as once thought. In the Jour­nalofClin­i­cal In­ves­ti­ga­tion this week, sci­en­tists have re­ported that tak­ing NAC can cause blood ves­sels to sense that they are not get­ting enough oxy­gen. This can lead to dan­ger­ously high blood pres­sure in the ar­ter­ies that carry blood to the lungs — a con­di­tion known as pul­monary ar­te­rial hy­per­ten­sion — and cause swelling of the right side of the heart. The re­search team gave NAC to mice in their drink­ing wa­ter for three weeks, and com­pared their blood pres­sure and heart func­tion to that of mice that did not re­ceive NAC. The next step, say the au­thors, is to work out whether the lev­els of NAC found in sup­ple­ments may be harm­ful to hu­mans. JClinIn­vest 2007;117:2592-2601 (Palmer LA, et al) OBE­SITY and eat­ing disor­ders among girls could both be pre­vented us­ing a new school­based over­weight pre­ven­tion pro­gram. Re­searchers have de­scribed the ben­e­fits of the pro­gram (5-2-1-Go!) in the latest is­sue of the ArchivesofPe­di­atric­sandA­do­les­cent Medicine . The 5-2-1-Go! pro­gram pro­motes eat­ing five serv­ings of fruits and veg­eta­bles daily, lim­it­ing TV view­ing to no more than two hours a day, and get­ting at least one hour of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity daily. The study took place in 13 sec­ondary schools in Mas­sachusetts be­tween 2002 and 2004 and in­volved 1451 sixth- and sev­enth-graders (749 girls and 702 boys). Six schools used the 5-2-1-Go! pro­gram and seven used their usual health ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram. Al­most 4 per cent of girls re­ceiv­ing only their reg­u­lar health ed­u­ca­tion be­gan vom­it­ing or abus­ing lax­a­tives or diet pills, but just 1 per cent of the girls in the 5-2-1-Go! pro­gram did so. The pro­gram re­duced the risk of de­vel­op­ing an eat­ing dis­or­der by twothirds in girls, but had no ef­fect on the rate of eat­ing disor­ders among boys. ArchPe­di­a­trA­do­lescMed 2007;161:865-869 (Austin SB, et al) Want to know more? Items are ref­er­enced where pos­si­ble. A ref­er­ence such as ‘‘ 2007;35:18-25’’ means the source ar­ti­cle was pub­lished on pages 18-25 in vol­ume num­ber 35 of the pub­li­ca­tion, in 2007. A doi num­ber or web­site ad­dress is used for re­search pub­lished on a jour­nal’s web­site.

Iron: Day care chil­dren health­ier

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