A new study of Taiwanese families looked at paternal smoking during the mother’s pregnancy and its effects on immune system genes. The researchers looked for signs of asthma in over 1,600 babies, 756 of which were followed for six years.
“Prenatal exposure to paternal tobacco smoking is associated with increased methylation of certain immune genes, which alters how the genetic code is read”
It is already widely known that exposure to tobacco smoke during development harms children, and non-coding ‘epigenetic’ changes to DNA have been repeatedly found. The research, published in Frontiers in Genetics, revealed how immune genes can predict the level of risk, and found that just like maternal smoking or air pollution, paternal smoking during pregnancy can also program epigenetic modifications, which in turn increase the associated risk of childhood asthma.
“We found that prenatal exposure to paternal tobacco smoking is associated with increased methylation of certain immune genes, which alters how the genetic code is read,” says lead author Dr Wu Chih-Chiang of Po-Jen Hospital in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. “This smoking associated DNA methylation is significantly retained from birth to six years of age, and correlates with development of childhood asthma.”
French study looking at e-cigs for asthma treatment
Meanwhile, a 2017 study by a group of French medical researchers had looked at the use of modern, high-powered e-cigarettes as a possible way of delivering inhaled medicine, for patients suffering from diseases, including asthma and COPD.
For this study, the scientists tested the ability of a commercial mod and atomiser to create droplets of terbutaline sulphate, a bronchodilator which opens up airways in the lung and makes breathing easier. The findings had indicated that, at high power levels, the device was a very efficient way to deliver the drug. Interestingly they had also found that it delivered a constant drug concentration – an argument often used against e-cigs is that they don’t deliver consistent nicotine doses, but this study seemed to contradict that.
Read Further: The South China Morning Post