Nicotine During Pregnancy Increases the Risk of Colic

Dan Jacobsen, NP

Babies are more likely to have colic when their mothers smoked or used nicotine replacement therapy during pregnancy, according to research just published in the journal Pediatrics. A significantly increased risk of infantile colic--ranging from 30 percent to 60 percent--was associated with prenatal nicotine exposure in the study of more than 63,000 mothers in the Danish National Birth Cohort.

As difficult as a bout of colic can be, tobacco’s effects on a fetus are worse. Smoking during pregnancy is associated with babies of low birth weight, which can affect lifetime growth and development. Smoking is also associated with spontaneous abortion, stillbirth and sudden infant death syndrome.
Obstetricians in the United States don't usually prescribe nicotine replacement therapy (like patches or gum) for pregnant women. The Center for Tobacco Control can help expectant mothers overcome nicotine addiction with counseling, behavioral therapy or hypnosis.
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Lead in Lipstick Should Worry the FDA--and You, Too

Ken Spaeth, MD

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a report that it found lead in hundreds of shades of popular brands of lipstick found everywhere from drugstores to department stores. 

The agency said that the lead levels it found pose no health risk. However, this claim flies in the face of scientific consensus that there is no such thing as a safe level of lead.
In fact, two populations are at heightened risk of harm from lead poisoning--particularly from lipstick:
  • pregnant women, because lead exposure during fetal development can cause neurological and cognitive defects; and
  • young girls, because their smaller stature and lack of fully developed blood/brain barriers leave them vulnerable.  
This development is another example of the need for adequate health and safety testing of consumer products. From a public health policy perspective, there should be a zero tolerance policy for lead in consumer products--particularly those used by pregnant women and children.
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Simple Steps for New Diabetes Patients

Loriann Lomnicki Gross

If you’ve been recently diagnosed with diabetes, you may feel overwhelmed by all there is to learn about caring for yourself. But if you follow these simple steps, you’ll be headed in the right direction:

  • Get informed about the type of diabetes that you have. Ask questions at your medical appointments. Keep notes so you don’t forget.
  • If you are prescribed medicine, know what you are taking. Learn the basics of how it works and any side effects you might expect. Your pharmacist can be a great reference.
  • If hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a possibility, be sure that you, your family and friends can recognize the symptoms. Eat regularly and carry a healthy snack with you just in case.
  • If your healthcare provider wants you to monitor your blood glucose levels, test regularly and keep a log of results. Bring your log to all appointments so your healthcare team can see how your treatment plan is working.
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Diabetes: Are You at Risk?

Tracy Breen, MD

November is American Diabetes Awareness Month and over the next several weeks, North Shore-LIJ diabetes specialists will be sharing their expertise with readers.

The US is experiencing a diabetes epidemic that affects about 26 million adults. And the numbers are growing: almost 40 percent of adults in the US already suffer from “pre-diabetes.” People with pre-diabetes have a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes unless they make major lifestyle changes--particularly regarding exercise and weight management.

Diabetes can be costly and debilitating. Its complications include heart attacks, strokes, vascular problems, blindness, kidney failure and nerve damage. Keeping diabetes under control can help reduce the risk these complications, but the most effective way to prevent diabetes complications is to prevent diabetes in the first place.

A simple blood test, known as a Hemoglobin A1c (or simply A1c), screens for diabetes and pre-diabetes.

The following people should be screened every year with an A1c test:

  • All adults over 45
  • All adults with hypertension (high blood pressure)
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10 Years Later: What Have We Learned?

Jacqueline Moline, MD

Not only were nearly 3,000 people killed on 9/11, but the health effects related to the disaster have lingered for thousands who performed rescue and recovery work at the World Trade Center (WTC) site, or who lived or worked in the area.

Both traditional and non-traditional first responders participated in the rescue and recovery effort. Little attention was paid to the exposures at the WTC site, which included massive quantities of dust and fumes, pulverized construction material, asbestos, heavy metals, dioxins, polycholinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Immediate health effects were noted among WTC-exposed individuals, such as upper and lower airway irritation, persistent cough, and severe gastroesophageal reflux. Full Post - to Detail View