Researchers at Seattle Children’s Research Institute have discovered that populations of neurons in the brainstem have a previously unrecognized susceptibility to disruption by nicotine during early brain development.

Published in the Journal of Comparative Neurology, their findings offer a clue to how nicotine exposure in utero could have a lasting effect on the brain’s wiring and give rise to negative outcomes like SIDS.

“Our findings point to new areas in the brain where nicotine could act as a developmental disruptor and could be important to understanding sudden infant death syndrome,” says Dr. Eric Turner of the research institute’s Center for Integrative Brain Research.

Read the article: Researchers Discover Areas in the Brain Where Nicotine Could Disrupt Early Brain Development – On the Pulse