Friday, March 5, 2010

Secondhand smoke ups teen vessel damage (Finland)

Exposure to secondhand smoke has been linked to an increased risk of hardened arteries in 13-year-olds, researchers in Finland said. The study, published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, associated higher levels of exposure to secondhand smoke between the ages of 8-13 to a significant increase by age 13 of blood vessel wall thickness and vessel functioning problems - both precursors to hardened arteries. The researchers also found greater exposure to tobacco smoke associated to another risk factor for heart disease - higher levels of apolipoprotein B - a component of low-density lipoprotein or LDL, the "bad" cholesterol. "Although previous research has found that passive smoke may be harmful for blood vessels among adults, we did not know until this study that these specific effects also happen among children and adolescents," lead author Dr. Katariina Kallio of the University of Turku said in a statement. The study participants - 494 children - had been recruited as infants beginning in 1990 into Finland's ongoing prospective randomized Special Turku Coronary Risk Factor Intervention Project, which aims to lower children's risks of heart disease by controlling their exposure to known environmental dangers

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