Research Briefs - 7th September

Nicotine disturbs babies' sleep
Nicotine in breast milk causes sleep disruption in infants, a US study shows. The study carried out at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, included 15 breastfeeding mothers who smoked. It found that infants slept for 58 per cent longer in the three and a half hours after breastfeeding when their mothers refrained from smoking immediately before feeding (www.monell.org).

Indoor pollution worsens COPD
Severity of COPD symptoms is related to levels of indoor air pollution, a Scottish study has found. Researchers measured levels of particulate matter 2.5(mu)m or less in diameter, nitrogen dioxide and endotoxin in the homes of 148 patients with severe COPD in north-east Scotland. Average particulate matter levels were high, and in the highest cases were four times the maximum recommended limit. Severity of COPD symptoms was found by the researchers to be related to particulate matter levels in the home (Amer J Res and Crit Car Med 2007; 176: 465-72).

Number of young bipolar diagnoses increases
Diagnoses of bipolar disorder in young people have increased more than 40-fold in the past 10 years, according to a Spanish analysis of data from US clinics. The number of bipolar diagnoses in patients aged under 19 increased from 25 per 100,000 in 1994 to 1,003 per 100,000 in 2003. Researchers warned that the dramatic increase could indicate over-diagnosis of the condition (Arch Gen Psych 2007; 64: 1,032-9).

Obese women likely to have sons who are less fertile
Danish research has shown that obese women are more likely than normal weight women to have less fertile sons. Researchers from Aarhus University found that men born to overweight mothers were likely to have sperm of a poorer quality. For the study, the researchers monitored the health of more than 300 women and their sons.

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