Medicine: Nicotine and Babies

Daphnia magna is an almost-microscopic, transparent, fresh-water crustacean that looks something like a very intelligent, infinitesimal shrimp. But for medical researchers Daphnia has other charms than looks: under the influence of low concentrations of drugs such as strychnine or nicotine in the water, Daphnia swims erratically, does loop-the-loops; as concentrations increase, Daphnia gets convulsions, swims on its back, goes into a coma, dies.

Last week Dr. H. Harris Perlman and co-workers of Jewish Hospital in Philadelphia reported in the A.M.A. Journal tests with Daphnia which showed that smoking does not harm a nursing mother if the mother smoked before her child was...

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