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Smoking Mothers May Alter the DNA of Their Children 155

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Pregnant women who smoke don't just harm the health of their baby—they may actually impair their child's DNA, according to new research. A genetic analysis shows that the children of mothers who smoke harbor far more chemical modifications of their genome — known as epigenetic changes — than kids of non-smoking mothers. Many of these are on genes tied to addiction and fetal development. The finding may explain why the children of smokers continue to suffer health complications later in life.
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Smoking Mothers May Alter the DNA of Their Children

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  • Re:What about... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by skids ( 119237 ) on Monday July 28, 2014 @08:19PM (#47554211) Homepage

    While there are almost definitely some sort of lesser consequences than those who smoke during pregnancy, what will happen to them is they will be wrongfully blamed for all society's perinatal ills for the next month or so due to the fact that journalists cannot choose their language carefully.

  • Re:What about... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by riverat1 ( 1048260 ) on Monday July 28, 2014 @08:32PM (#47554307)

    To that I'd add what about mothers who don't smoke themselves but are exposed to secondhand smoke* either because their partner/roommate smokes or there is smoking in places they hang out?

    *Before anyone gets all huffy about secondhand smoke being a problem I have experience with it. I was a non-smoker who roomed for a couple of years at college with a pack a day smoker. When I moved out I found I'd become addicted and started smoking (stupid, I know).

  • Re:Smokers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by znrt ( 2424692 ) on Monday July 28, 2014 @08:42PM (#47554357)

    They are one of those few groups who shouldn't get any healthcare at all. Even when their problem is seemingly unrelated to smoking.

    same as car and motorcycle drivers, factory workers and owners, smartphone and computer users, meat and processed food consumers, etc., right?

  • Re:What about... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Monday July 28, 2014 @08:46PM (#47554381)

    due to the fact that journalists cannot choose their language carefully

    Respectfully, that is profoundly naive. The language used is carefully chosen to foster this ambiguity and instigate the blame you anticipate. Instilling hate in the hoi polloi necessitates rounding off corners that would otherwise need qualification.

    Smoking == crime. Smokers == enemies of the people.

    That's all you need to know.

  • Re: What about... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2014 @09:58PM (#47554617)

    An enemy of the people who also fund a Significant number of government programs via the taxes they pay on cigarettes. If every smoker up and quit tomorrow it would create a massive economic crisis.

    The government doesn't want people to quit. they are just trying to figure out the max people will keep paying so that the coffers stay full. You can bet on the day tobacco tax revenue starts to drop we will see a halt in the taxes or something else will suddenly be in the crosshairs.

  • Re:Smokers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Monday July 28, 2014 @11:25PM (#47554945)

    I've been a smoker for a little over ten years. I've been paying into health insurance plans for roughly twenty. I haven't been to a doctor in seventeen years (and that was required for a tetanus shot so I could attend a public university), so I've paid my fucking dues.

    There is a bit of a conumdrum here. As a smoker, you are supposed to die young, and suddenly from a massive heart attack or stroke. Stick with me here, I wish you good health.

    Okay, so lets see what happens, the fate of the evil smoker, as compared to "healthy" people. I've told this story before, but here goes again. My mother in law who was a strict teetotaler, a non smoking person who did everything the healthy way, including drugs that kept all the "danger" readings in line, spent the last ten years of her life as a dementia patient, really hitting the Medicare trough. The last two years of her life ,which is when most healthy people really start racking up the bills, she cost around 600 thousand dollars in hospital bills. Pretty impressive.

    Now let us take the example of my mother. She smoked, and on weekends, we'd enjoy a few beers. She did die of a massive heart attack, and it was over essentially immediately. So even though this is a sample of two, who cost the system more? My Mother in law, who was probably well over a million dollars during her dementia riddled last ten years, or my Mother who lived healthy up to the end of her days, then went out not costing that asshole anything (and she did die several years older than my mother in law anyway.

    Smug people and their ideas on health care are probably the same people that buy high and sell low on the stock market. Using their logic, you would think they would encourage people to smoke. Nope, I've often thought that you could just exchange "smoker" with say the N-word, and see what they got. Just hate.

    But we all do die, regardless of wht way too many people think.. I hope I go out the way my mother did, and my worst nightmare is my smart mother in law's protracted death.

    I wish your mother hadn't been provided healthcare.

    Much better if she was provided free birth control, don't you think?

  • Re:What about... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <> on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @12:10AM (#47555089) Homepage

    *Before anyone gets all huffy about secondhand smoke being a problem I have experience with it. I was a non-smoker who roomed for a couple of years at college with a pack a day smoker. When I moved out I found I'd become addicted and started smoking (stupid, I know).

    No you had another reason, you're just placing blame on those around you for smoking. Whether it was stress, it seemed like that was the likely cause, or something else. My father smoked a pack to two per-day, for close to 15 years. My grandparents(all three that were still alive) smoked upwards of 1-3 packs per day, until they died. I never became addicted, I had no desire to smoke. The only thing I missed was the smell of burning tobacco, and fresh picked. That's probably because as a teenager I used to pick the stuff(meaning I got all the crap oozing from the plants on me), but again I didn't start smoking because of it either.

  • Re:What about... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by felixrising ( 1135205 ) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @01:42AM (#47555363)
    Well, yes, it's correlation, not a clear pathway for causation... but the findings are intriguing. Maybe people who produce fat sons just happen to like smoking when they are pre-pubescent? Chances are there are some epigenetic effects though...

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson