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Studies Find Infants Have Increased Asthma Risk With Smoking Fathers

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Most women recognize the fact that smoking can be dangerous, even to an unborn fetus, and while many mothers will quit when they hear the good news that they are expecting, men may not realize the dangers if they continue this damaging routine. It’s long been a notion that men don’t need to make many health or lifestyle changes when their partner becomes pregnant, but a recent study suggests otherwise. Results have shown that men who smoke prior to the conception of their child can actually increase the baby’s chances of having asthma and other lung related complications. The Daily Mail supplies: “Norwegian researchers found a baby had a greater risk of asthma if their father smoked before they were conceived. The findings add to growing evidence which suggests that poor health can be recorded in a father’s sperm or a mother’s eggs.”

These results were presented at the ERS, or European Respiratory Society, during the International Congress in the city of Munich, Germany. It displayed the investigated data showing male smoking habits prior to conception of a child had serious problematic effects on the child’s respiratory health. This might be new information, but it only adds to the giant mountain of growing resources proving that smoking can cause complications before during and after the birth of a child. It also follows up with previously studied notions in the animal kingdom that have shown similar results in the father’s lifestyle prior to conception causing negative consequences for babies.

The Study In Question

Dr. Cecile Svanes of the University of Bergen, located in Norway, was the lead on this smoking study, during which thirteen thousand men and women were assessed with a questionnaire to determine their smoking habits. The focus was mainly on the number of years each individual had smoked cigarettes prior to conception to a child, and whether or not asthma had become apparent in their children following the baby’s birth. It also followed whether the parent had quit before conception, or only following the conception of the infant. Medical News Today reports: “The study found that fathers, but not mothers – smoking prior to conception predicted non-allergic asthma (without hayfever) in children. Additionally, a child’s risk of asthma increased if his or her father smoked before the age of 15, and this risk increased the longer the father’s duration of smoking.”

The findings suggested that smoking prior to conception may play a serious role in spermatogenesis in regards to the possibility of the development of asthma and other lung related issues. This could have a large impact on the public health guidelines regarding pregnancy and smoking.

Other Studies That Have Proven Parental History Can Affect Infants

A study performed by Professor Sarah Robertson from the University of Adelaide, which is located in Australia, found that overweight parents increase the risk of metabolic diseases for their children. The results of this particular study were published in the journal of Science, and showed that many forms of poor health could be passed on or at least predispose the offspring to a similar fate in the future. These types of ideas are fairly recent, and studies regarding pre-birth and pre-conception behavior have really only begun to be looked at over the past 5 to 10 years. Most of them show that the lifestyle choices made by parents including diet and smoking can somehow connect or be stored within sperm and egg to translate later into the embryo.

Studies That Have Had Positive Outcomes For Asthma In Infants

Despite the negativity involved with smoking, there have also been a few breakthroughs in the prevention of asthma in babies. A recent study has shown that children who sleep on animal fur as infants have a better chance of avoiding asthma. The results found that the animal fur should be slept with within the first three months of life, and the study was conducted at the European Respiratory Society during the International Congress in the city of Munich, Germany. This suggests that animal skin and their fur might have some sort of protective effect against allergens due to the microbial environment it provides. India Times says: “The researchers collected information on exposure to animal skin during the first three months of life, along with information on the health of children until the age of 10 years and information on 2,441 children was used in the study, with 55percent of those included sleeping on animal skin in the first three months of life.”

What was concluded was that there was a definite reduced risk for asthma factors that contribute to lung and respiratory issues in children. The microbes found in rural settings have been previously noted to help prevent asthma as well, which may relate to this study due to the microbes and similar mechanisms found in the natural fur of animals.