Nicotine on the Fetus: Dr. Alison Holloway

Nicotine and Other Prenatal Obesogens & Development of Type 2 Diabetes

Nicotine and the many other destructive  chemicals we infuse into our developing children.  In our continuing series with researchers featured on David Suzuki’s Nature of Things “Programmed to be Fat” – we bring you Dr. Alison Holloway. Dr Holloway received her BSc in Zoology from the University of Toronto in 1992.  She then obtained her PhD in Zoology from the University of Guelph in 1997.  She worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto and then in 2003 obtained a faculty position in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at McMaster University where she is currently as Associate Professor.

Nicotine On the developing Fetus Interview Best In Health RadioDr Holloway’s current research investigates how fetal and neonatal exposure to chemical insults can increase the risk of adverse metabolic outcomes in the offspring during postnatal life.  The chemicals that are of interest to her laboratory including chemicals that we may intentionally expose ourselves to through lifestyle choices such as cigarette smoking or the use of over the counter natural health products; man-made chemicals in the environment and medications.  The majority of the work in her lab at this time focuses on whether children born to women who smoke are more likely be obese and/or develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

Update on Dr. Holloway’s Research:

“Recent epidemiological studies have shown that there is an increased risk of obesity and hypertension in children born to women who smoked during pregnancy. Maternal smoking during pregnancy is an important risk factor for overweight and adiposity in children between 5 and 7 years of age, and the effect of maternal smoking to increase obesity in the offspring has been shown to persist even after adjustment for a wide range of confounding factors, including birth weight, socioeconomic status, and maternal diet. Similarly, maternal cigarette smoking has been associated with increased blood pressure in the children of smokers at 6 years of age, an effect that is not wholly attributable to the effects of maternal smoking on birth weight or the child’s current weight. Taken together, these studies suggest that it may be a direct effect of intrauterine exposure to the chemicals in cigarette smoke that accounts for the increased risk of obesity and hyper- tension in the offspring of women who smoke during pregnancy.”