Smoking in pregnant women affects fetal hearing

A few days ago, scientists discovered that smoking during pregnancy can cause hearing loss in the fetus after birth.Scientists are convinced for the first time that the existing evidence can fully prove that the culprit is the nicotine in cigarettes, which affects the fetal brain.

Materet, a professor of neurobiology and behavior, and his colleagues from the University of California, tested on mice and found that exposure to nicotine during the third trimester of pregnancy can cause hearing-related cognitive deficits.This discovery is the first to prove the causality between the two. The next test will show that these defects may be caused by damage to the nicotine-sensitive receptors in the brain. We know that when humans or animals are exposed to nicotine during development This kind of problem arises from time to time, and this study was published in the European Journal of Neuroscience.

Children with auditory processing impairments may experience a variety of hearing problems, such as difficulty in understanding speech in a noisy environment, difficulty in understanding spoken information, and may not be able to distinguish the nuances of similar sound homes. “This study is of great significance because it accurately shows where the dangers of smoking during pregnancy are and the resulting hearing perception deficits,” said Professor Matteret. “Most women who smoke feel that they stop during pregnancy. Smoking is difficult. Doctors often prescribe nicotine patches for them. This practice can indeed prevent the fetus from being harmed by the harmful chemicals in cigarettes, and will not cause defects such as imperfect physical development, but in terms of brain development, exposure to nicotine itself Enough to produce serious consequences.”

The familiar neurotransmitter is a chemical substance that acts as an information carrier between cells. They connect the receptors on the cell surface, just like a key is inserted into a lock.If the receptor is damaged, the corresponding connection with the neurotransmitter will be affected. Nicotine and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine share the same receptor. We instruct the neurotransmitter acetylcholine to be very important for cognitive function.

Scientists believe that when people pay attention to something, such as an important sound, acetylcholine is released into the brain, and then it interacts with nicotine acetylcholine that has been damaged by exposure to nicotine before birth, causing the receptors to lose their linking function and the baby Lost the ability to perceive important sounds.

Matteret said, “Although we are currently unable to conduct oral descriptive experiments on animals, we have already taken a step forward in this direction in terms of discovering the causal relationship between nicotine exposure before birth and auditory perception deficits. An important step.”

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