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Previous research conducted on rats have provided results illustrating the effects of nicotine on bone growth. Dr. Paulson and a team of scientists from Ohio State University observed reductions in ossification in the femur, forelimb, nasal bone, ribs, and the skull and face (Paulson et al. 1994). Most likely the retardation of bone development is a result of nicotine inhibiting the absorption of calcium in the embryo. Similar research on humans has also been conducted to examine the effects of nicotine on birth weight and body length. Dr. Bardy and his colleagues from the National Public Health Institute inFinland recorded the birth weight and crown-heel length in newborns that had been exposed to nicotine. They found that the exposed newborns were on average 188 g lighter and 10 mm shorter than the nonexposed newborns (Bardy 1993). This result suggests that nicotine causes a retardation in embryonic development.

Additional research has also been done concerning the effects of nicotine on heart rate. Dr. Dienes and a team of scientists examined the effects of nicotine on the cardiovascular system in pregnant women. What they found was that nicotine was associated with anincrease in maternal and fetal heart rate (Dienes 1999). Therefore, nicotine is known not only to affect growth but also the cardiovascular system.

Although the effects of nicotine have been extensively studied in organisms such as humans and rats, there has been little research done using chick embryos. This is difficult to understand considering that the chick is one of the model organisms used in most experiments involving development. Most of the research conducted thus far concerning nicotine and chicks has been by Dr. Gilani from Germany. In one experiment he investigated the effects of nicotine on 48

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Last Modified: 5 May 2000

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