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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Nicotine Patch May Help Memory Impairment

Marc Gordon, MD

Nicotine patches may ease mild cognitive impairment, according to a new study in the journal Neurology. Study participants showed improved attention plus improvements in secondary measures of attention, memory and thought-processing speed. But the research did not demonstrate a significant difference between nicotine and placebo on overall improvement.

The study was conducted with 74 non-smokers with amnestic mild cognitive impairment, who were randomly assigned to receive either nicotine patches or placebo patches for six months. Amnestic mild cognitive impairment is characterized by measurable impairment in memory without obvious functional disability. It may represent an intermediate stage between normal aging and mild Alzheimer's dementia. Alzheimer’s is associated with a deficiency of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which sends signals between nerve cells by binding to specific receptors. Nicotine has the ability to bind to and activate some of these receptors.

The nicotine-treated group experienced weight loss, more adverse events and more discontinuations due to adverse events, but there were no severe adverse events, and overall, the nicotine patch appeared to be safe and relatively well-tolerated by the participants.

While these results are encouraging and justify further research into the potential therapeutic use of nicotine in mild cognitive impairment, it is important to bear in mind that this is a small, preliminary study. Full Post - to Detail View