Nicotine and sudden infant death syndrome: experts warn against E-cigarettes

It is a nightmare for parents and family members: A Newborn falls asleep in the evening and Wake up never again. Upon the death of an infant suddenly and unexpectedly in front of the 365. Day, designate a physician as sudden infant death syndrome, short SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). The phenomenon is very rare. In Germany, approximately 120 infants were in the year 2014 are affected. Although the cause of death cannot be ascertained, that in many cases, there are factors that increase the risk for sudden infant death syndrome. With one of the most important is whether the mother smokes in pregnancy or lactation. But how exactly does cigarette Smoking influence the risk of death?

Researchers at the University of Arizona have investigated this question. In a study with rats showed that nicotine could play from cigarettes a Central role. In experiments with rodents, inhibited nicotine is the function of nerve cells, which play a role in survival reflexes. The study is published in the Journal “eNeuro”.

Nicotine inhibits nerve cells

The American scientists implanted pregnant rats small pumps under the skin, the nicotine charges. The nerve toxin has reached the young animals through the placenta and after birth via breast milk. The researchers simulated a Situation with shortness of breath, such as, for example, can arise when on the face of the baby a duvet is. Twelve of the 135 rats died in the Attempt – nine of them had previously come with nicotine in contact.

As the researchers report, were in the nicotine in young animals, the nerve-loaded dulled, the control in such a Situation, the mouth floor muscles. The muscles serve to open the upper respiratory tract or to close.

The results of the study were “generally plausible”, says Reinhold Kerbl, an Austrian pediatrician and University Professor. “I have come in the last 40 years, countless theories about the causes of sudden infant death and go see it. Now was animal derived – another attempt at an explanation for this fatal event is derived.” The connection between nicotine exposure – prenatal as well as postpartum and the sudden infant death syndrome was “known for many years”. There is a clear dose-effect relationship existed.

According to the experts, the exposure to second-hand smoke has a “multiple disadvantage”. They affect, among other things, transmitter substances in the Central nervous system. “As a result of such preloaded newborns are worse in the situation to get out of critical situations by appropriate protective reflexes themselves,” says Kerbl more. Threat it can be, for example, if a cushion or a large stuffed animal is blocking the airway of the infant. This Situation was reported in the present study, simulated.

Also, Smoking fathers are a risk

However, the risk is not only influenced solely by the Smoking mother. “The nicotine from Smoking father is relevant,” says Alexander Möller, head of the Department of pulmonology at the children’s hospital in Zurich. Fathers-to-be should try during pregnancy and after birth, to refrain from cigarettes, since mother and child are exposed to passive smoke.

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Animal experiments are controversial because the results of one-to-one are often transferable to humans. However, in this case, as Möller: “The neurological processes and the respiratory control in rats is not significantly different than in humans. Therefore, the animal model is clearly applicable and the results are transferable.”

“The results of the animal studies fit very well to the epidemiological data demonstrating a link between Smoking in pregnancy and sudden infant death syndrome,” says Christoph Bührer, Director of the clinic for Neatonologie at the Berlin Charité. This kind of animal testing is also necessary because the corresponding experiments with people were not.

Why are nicotine-containing E-cigarettes are not an Alternative

E-cigarettes are often seen as a healthier Alternative to traditional cigarettes. But they’re for parents-to-be is no substitute, stressed Bührer. “When sudden infant death syndrome, the danger comes directly from the nicotine. Here are just a real nicotine waiting helps – Stop without a replacement.”

The primary goal must be to protect children from nicotine, says the Swiss pulmonologist Möller. “It doesn’t matter how nicotine is consumed. If the mother nicotine takes to – as always – comes this unfiltered via the placenta to the child, and after birth via breast milk. In the case of electronic cigarettes and conventional cigarettes in addition to the smoke and the steam, the also adheres to the clothes and the skin. The tobacco industry wants to make people believe that electronic cigarettes are harmless and far less harmful than conventional cigarettes. This may be true for the Problem of lung cancer, and chronic smoke in the lungs, but here it is just the nicotine. This is concentrated in the electronic cigarettes still much higher than in normal cigarettes. For this reason, this study is very important and ground-breaking to.”

Source: Science Media centre / professional Association of child and youth doctors e. V.

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