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infant health

Ron Cruz / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. It harms nearly every organ in the body and is linked to health conditions like cancer, heart disease and stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And when a mother chooses to smoke during pregnancy, she is harming not only her health, but the health of her baby.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Nearly every day, a silver Subaru makes its way through the tiny towns and white pine woods of Wexford County, in northern Michigan.

Behind the wheel is Jeannie Schnitker, a nurse with the state’s Maternal and Infant Health Program.

Last week, I tagged along for a ride.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Earlier this month, we came across this article in the Washingtonian entitled "Children Are Dying." It blew our minds. Could babies really be dying in neonatal intensive care units across the country because of drug shortages? We decided to check it out for ourselves to see if it was happening in Michigan.

A new study shows that heavy drinking during pregnancy has long-term affects on a child's brain growth and development. But the study, supported by the National Institutes of Health, also notes that an infant's environment likely plays a role in the abnormal brain development as well. Those findings could lead to the development of early treatments and interventions to correct or improve patterns of abnormality. You can read the full study here: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/32/44/15243.full

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Infant mortality rates in Michigan are better than they used to be, but still not good enough. 

Seven out of every 1,000 babies born in Michigan will die before their first birthday. This isn't a statistic the state is proud of, and lately there's been a lot of effort put into lowering this number.