Study: Vitamin C could improve baby’s lung function in women who smoke through pregnancy
CHICAGO — Supplemental vitamin C taken by pregnant smokers improved measures of lung function for newborns and decreased the incidence of wheezing for infants through 1 year, according to a study published by JAMA that was released Sunday. The study was released early online to coincide with its presentation at the American Thoracic Society International Conference.
The researchers found that newborns of women randomized to vitamin C, compared with those randomized to placebo, had improved measures of pulmonary function. Offspring of women randomized to vitamin C had significantly decreased wheezing through age 1 year (21% vs. 40%). There were no significant differences in the 1-year PFT results between the vitamin C and placebo groups.
"Although smoking cessation is the foremost goal, most pregnant smokers continue to smoke, supporting the need for a pharmacologic intervention," stated lead author Cindy McEvoy of Oregon Health & Science University. Other studies have demonstrated that reduced pulmonary function in offspring of smokers continues into childhood and up to age 21 years. "This emphasizes the important opportunity of in-utero intervention," she said. "Individuals who begin life with decreased PFT measures may be at increased risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease."
"Vitamin C supplementation in pregnant smokers may be an inexpensive and simple approach — with continued smoking-cessation counseling — to decrease some of the effects of smoking in pregnancy on newborn pulmonary function and, ultimately, infant respiratory morbidities, but further study is required," McEvoy concluded.
More than 50% of smokers who become pregnant continue to smoke, corresponding to 12% of all pregnancies. Smoking during pregnancy adversely affects lung development, with lifelong decreases in pulmonary function. At birth, newborn infants born to smokers show decreased pulmonary function test results, with respiratory changes leading to increased hospitalization for respiratory infections and increased incidence of childhood asthma, according to background information on the article. In a study involving primates, vitamin C blocked some of the in-utero effects of nicotine on lung development and pulmonary function in offspring.
CVS Caremark publishes 2013 Corporate Social Responsibility Report
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark has released its 2013 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, which showcases the company’s CSR strategy its Prescription for a Better World and its key priorities. The company also reported its progress on its CSR and sustainability initiatives.
The key topics covered in the report are ones the company considers to be its CSR priorities: access to affordable health care; the environmental impacts of its operations, including those contributing to climate change; product stewardship; patient safety; employee engagement and workplace inclusion; and the safe disposal of prescription drugs, among others.
Prescription for a Better World defines CVS Caremark’s CSR strategy and is aligned to support the company’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health. The report provides evidence of the company’s core initiatives focused on providing better access to quality, affordable care and improving health outcomes. To advance this cause, the report details the company’s efforts to help Americans gain better access to health care. For example, during the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment period, CVS Caremark conducted campaigns within the retail pharmacy channel, educating millions of Americans about their new coverage options.
A recurring theme in the report is CVS Caremark’s decision to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores by Oct. 1. This decision reflects the company’s commitment to building healthier communities and aligning products and services with its purpose. In conjunction with stopping the sale of tobacco products, CVS Caremark also will be investing in smoking-cessation programs going forward.
Other highlights in the report include an update on the company’s progress against its 15% carbon intensity reduction goal by 2018, which it is on track to reach; a stronger focus on product stewardship and evaluating and removing certain ingredients; and engaging employees in more diversity programs, as well as health-and-wellness initiatives.
The CVS Caremark 2013 CSR Report was developed in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative G4 Guidelines, an international framework that is widely used by organizations to report on their CSR and sustainability performance. CVS Caremark adopted the G4 reporting guidelines for its 2013 Report, rather than wait until the new GRI standards are mandatory at the end of 2015.
Study: Olive oil supplements may counteract exposure to air pollution
SAN DIEGO ─ Taking olive oil supplements may counteract some of the adverse cardiovascular effects of exposure to air pollution, according to a new study presented at the 2014 American Thoracic Society International Conference on Monday.
"Exposure to airborne particulate matter can lead to endothelial dysfunction, a condition in which the endothelium (inner lining) of blood vessels does not function normally, which is a risk factor for clinical cardiovascular events and progression of atherosclerosis," stated lead study author Haiyan Tong, a research biologist with the United States Environmental Protection Agency. "As olive oil and fish oil are known to have beneficial effects on endothelial dysfunction, we examined whether use of these supplements would counteract the adverse cardiovascular effects of exposure to concentrated ambient particulate matter in a controlled setting."
The study involved 42 healthy adults who were randomized to receive either 3 g/day of olive oil, fish oil or no supplements for four weeks before undergoing controlled two-hour exposures to filtered air, followed on the next day by exposure to fine/ultrafine concentrated ambient particulate matter in a controlled-exposure chamber.
Immediately after exposure to CAP, significant particulate matter mass-dependent reductions in flow-mediated dilation were observed in the control and fish oil groups, while the decrease in the olive oil group was not significant.
Tissue plasminogen activator, a protein involved in the breakdown of blood clots, increased approximately 11.6% immediately after CAP exposure in the olive oil group, and this effect persisted up to 20 hours. Olive oil supplementation also ameliorated changes in blood markers associated with vasoconstriction and fibrinolysis, while fish oil supplementation had no effect on endothelial function or fibrinolysis after CAP exposure.
"Our study suggests that use of olive oil supplements may protect against the adverse vascular effects of exposure to air pollution particles," Tong said. "If these results are replicated in further studies, use of these supplements might offer a safe, low-cost and effective means of counteracting some of the health consequences of exposure to air pollution."