Wednesday 17 October 2018

Vaping while pregnant could increase risk of birth defects, study suggests

Pic posed.
Pic posed.

Lydia Smith

Smoking e-cigarettes during pregnancy could cause birth defects of the face and oral cavity, new research suggests.

Researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University exposed frog embryos and mammalian neural crest cells to chemicals in to test whether or not they cause defects, to find out what happens to fetuses when e-cigarettes are used during pregnancy.

Frogs, like other vertebrates, are similar to humans embryonically.

Publishing their findings in the PLOS One journal, they wrote that the same processes and genes govern major developmental events, such as craniofacial development, or the formation of the skull and face.

Pic posed
Pic posed

Researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University exposed frog embryos and mammalian neural crest cells to chemicals in to test whether or not they cause defects, to find out what happens to fetuses when e-cigarettes are used during pregnancy.

Frogs, like other vertebrates, are similar to humans embryonically.

Publishing their findings in the PLOS One journal, they wrote that the same processes and genes govern major developmental events, such as craniofacial development, or the formation of the skull and face.

The researchers also tested the effects of the mixture on the viability and function of neural crest cells.

The findings strongly suggested using e-cigarettes could lead to birth defects and in specific experimental trials for specific e-liquid types, all the frog embryos development cleft palates.

“We observed that very complex e-liquids that mix flavours, such as berries and creme and other food-related flavourings, may have the most dramatic effect on the face,” Ms Dickinson said.

All the frog embryos exposed to one particular e-liquid developed clefts with varying degrees of severity, but the researched did not reveal the specific names of the e-liquids or the companies that produce them.

In trials with a flavour described as “nutty,” roughly 75 per cent of the frog embryos developed clefts. When exposed to various other flavours, the frog embryos developed faces that were smaller than average.

The capacity of the neural crest cells to produce associated tissues was also greatly diminished, Mr Olivares-Navarrete said.

Researchers experimented with the same e-liquids without nicotine and found that the cells and frog embryos were still dramatically affected even when nicotine was absent.

“We aim to educate the public about the dangers of vaping and compel policymakers to impose tighter regulations, such as warning labels,” Prof Dickinson said.

Independent News Service

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