Published in the journal Biology Letters, the study titled “Vape flavourants dull sensory perception and cause hyperactivity in developing zebrafish embryos,” reported that exposure to flavoured e-cig chemicals in the womb, leads to hyperactive offspring. Additionally, reported the study, those flavourants containing nicotine cause even more dramatic changes to a growing foetus’ grey matter.
Vijayan’s research team at the University of Calgary in Canada, used a technique called PMR (photomotor response) to make the zebrafish embryos move under light, and then analysed their movement according to what flavourants they were exposed to. “We tested the effects of flavoured blue raspberry and cinnamon and unflavoured vape liquids with and without nicotine. While the unflavored vapes had no impact, the flavoured vapes even without nicotine caused profound behavioural changes which were similar to nicotine alone.”
Some flavours may have a similar effect to nicotine
The research team concluded that vaping during pregnancy exposes the developing baby’s brain to certain chemicals present in some of the products. Moreover, they added, flavoured e-liquids containing nicotine “caused even more behavioural alterations.”
“With more than 7,000 vape flavours on the market, each having unique profiles of chemicals in the final aerosol, characterising their potential neurotoxicity will be an onerous task,” said Vijayan adding, “Results from this study provide the first evidence that the PMR may prove to be an ideal candidate for screening vape flavours for developmental neurotoxicity.”
The combination of nicotine and alcohol has a specific effect on the brain’s reward system
Meanwhile, a recent study by researchers from the University of Houston, has indicated that consuming a mix of alcohol and nicotine during early pregnancy, may lead to major deficiencies in the fetus’s developing brain.
Published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, the study titled, “Investigating the influence of perinatal nicotine and alcohol exposure on the genetic profiles of dopaminergic neurons in the VTA using miRNA–mRNA analysis,” found that the combination of alcohol and nicotine significantly alters the gene regulatory pathways of the developing fetus.
“The alterations of these pathways are crucial since they are involved in neural network formation, cell development and communication,” reports Metin Akay, founding chair and John S. Dunn Endowed Chair Professor of biomedical engineering. “Among pathways in which many genes and miRNAs were significantly altered in response to perinatal nicotine/alcohol co-exposure are dopamine cell growth, neuronal migration, neuronal axon guidance, neurotrophin signaling and glutamatergic synapse.”
Read Further: Mirror