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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Tulane Finds Chromosome Component in Children Impacted by Prenatal Smoke Exposure

Dr. Katherine Theall, Cecile Usdin Professor in Women’s Health and director of the Mary Amelia Women’s Center at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, has published a new study in the American Journal of Public Health that finds prenatal exposure to cigarette smoke can impact parts of chromosomes in children. Dr. Theall and fellow researchers investigated telomere length, a repetitive DNA sequence located at the ends of chromosomes that stabilizes the chromosome. Telomeres are a part of chromosomes that have been identified as a biomarker of cellular aging. After reviewing results from more than 100 New Orleans children aged four to 14, researchers found that telomere length was shorter among children who were exposed to smoke during pregnancy. Short telomere length has been associated with negative health outcomes.