Smoking in pregnancy related to increased risk of fractures in children during the first year

A new study shows once again how much smoking during pregnancy can be discouraged in relation to various diseases that smoking itself can cause in the unborn child. This time the study, published in BMJ, shows that smoking during pregnancy may be linked to an increased risk of fracture of the baby during its first year of life.

The observational study, carried out by Swedish researchers, does not show that there are lasting effects on the risk of fractures after childhood and until early adulthood: this suggests that mothers smoking during pregnancy causes a short-term influence on the bone health of their children, which is no less serious.

As researchers point out, the number of studies that correlate the mother’s smoking during pregnancy and the risk of fractures in children at different stages of their lives is quite low and this research fills this gap a bit. The researchers analyzed data from 1.6 million people born between 1983 and 2000 in Sweden to women who smoked or did not smoke at the beginning of their pregnancy.

The subjects were followed up to an average age of 21 years (up to a maximum age of 32 years). By also benchmarking between siblings, the researchers found that smoking on the mother’s side could be associated with a higher fracture rate in children during the first year of age.

The data generally suggested that the risk of fractures after childhood and up to early adulthood began to be attributed to family factors rather than maternal exposure to smoking in utero. The link, however, stressing that this is an observational study that cannot establish a direct cause, therefore seems to exist only for the first year of the child’s life.


See also:

https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.l7057

Putrescine has been found useful to treat atherosclerosis

Putrescine could be very useful to combat one of the most common conditions affecting the cardiovascular system, namely atherosclerosis. Putrescine is that compound whose unmistakable smell is one of the most “bad” present in nature. We are talking about the smell emanating from rotting meat.

According to a new study conducted by researchers at the Irving Medical Center at Columbia University, it is possible to use this substance for the benefit of humans. The researchers assumed that the removal of dead cells, a process that is called “efferocytosis” and which is one of the main functions of the body, is usually compromised when the condition of atherosclerosis exists. This compromise then leads to the accumulation of plaques and aggravation of the condition itself.

By analyzing human macrophages and dying cells in the laboratory, researchers discovered the role of putrescine. While macrophages extract arginine and additional amino acids from the dead cells they assimilate, they also convert arginine into putrescine. Arginine then activates the Rac1 protein that signals macrophages to “eat” dead cells.

Researchers then carried out experiments on mice with atherosclerosis and found that the more severe mice had low stocks of putrescine because they lacked the key enzyme (arginase 1) to produce putrescine itself. By making rodents drink water with putrescine, the macrophages resumed working and the accumulation of plaques decreased.

These results open up new avenues for the possible use of putrescine even in human atherosclerotic patients or in other conditions with cranial inflammation, including Alzheimer’s disease. The study is available on Cell Metabolism.


See also:

https://www.cuimc.columbia.edu/news/putrid-compound-may-have-sweet-side-gig-atherosclerosis-treatment

The Pacific Northwest Temperature ranged widely between 800,000 and 750,000 years ago

Surface water temperature in the Northwest Pacific Ocean fluctuated widely between 800,000 and 750,000 years ago according to a new study conducted by a team of researchers from the National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR) and Ibaraki University. The researchers analyzed the oxygen isotopes of some fossils of foraminiferous, amoeboid marine microorganisms found on the island of Honshu, Japan.

According to the researchers, these changes were due to the discharge in this marine area of massive amounts of water derived from ice melting in the North Atlantic. This study could also be useful to understand climate change in the same area in the future.

According to the researchers, in fact, in order to assess the anthropogenic effects on ongoing climate change, it is necessary to make comparisons with the climates and environmental conditions that have occurred in the past, changes that naturally had no anthropogenic causes.

The study, published in the Earth and Planetary Science Letters, describes the methods researchers used to collect and then analyze fossils of four species of foraminifera taken from the MIS layer19. This sediment layer refers to a hot interglacial period of 790,000 to 760,000 years ago.

Based on previous studies that had shown that low oxygen isotope values of foraminiferous fossils correspond to higher water temperatures, the researchers came to the conclusion that there must be, in addition to the glacial-interglacial cycle that repeats on time scales of tens of thousands of years, other cycles related to water temperature.

Specifically, this temperature would oscillate in an extreme way, of about 7°, every few thousand years. In addition, analyses seem to show that these changes have occurred due to the outflow of water from icebergs in the North Atlantic.

“Surprisingly, the changes in the North Atlantic have caused dramatic fluctuations in water temperature in the remote Pacific Northwest,” says Yuki Haneda, NIPR scientist and one of the authors of the study. “We believe that the fossils collected from the outcrop are a tracer that integrates the data reported from deep water sediments. The composite section of Chiba is the global boundary stratification section and point (GSSP) of the lower-middle Pleistocene boundary and offers a remarkable understanding of global environmental changes during that period. We want to improve our understanding of climate change during MIS19 to predict future climate change more accurately.”