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  • Sids - Interesting Article

    Study May Take Mystery Out Of SIDS

    POSTED: 5:11 pm EST October 31, 2006

    CHICAGO -- In a small study with big implications, researchers found some of the strongest evidence yet that sudden infant death syndrome -- a medical and sometimes legal mystery once known as crib death -- may be caused by brain stem abnormalities.

    The finding "takes the mystery away from SIDS," said Marian Willinger, a SIDS researcher at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which funded the study. "It should take the guilt away from any parent who has lost a baby because they always wonder, 'What did I do wrong?' Now, they need to really understand, `My baby had a disease."'

    The brain stem abnormalities involve an imbalance in the way the brain uses the neurotransmitter serotonin. The brain chemical plays a role in regulating mood and is the target for many depression-fighting drugs. But it also influences breathing, body temperature and arousal from sleep.

    These functions are thought to go haywire when susceptible babies are exposed to certain risks, such as sleeping on their bellies, which is a leading contributor to SIDS.

    The researchers studied autopsied brain tissue from 31 SIDS babies and 10 infants who died of other causes. SIDS babies had about double the number of nerve cells displaying serotonin defects.

    Right now, the defects cannot be detected until after death. The researchers hope their work leads to a diagnostic test that could identify infants at risk and allow parents to take precautions.

    That will probably take at least 10 years, but the study results show the research appears to be headed in the right direction, said Dr. Hannah Kinney, a co-author and prominent SIDS researcher at Children's Hospital Boston.

    The study was published in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.

    "This finding lends credence to the view that SIDS risk may greatly increase when an underlying predisposition combines with an environmental risk -- such as sleeping face down -- at a developmentally sensitive time in early life," said Dr. Duane Alexander, director of the government institute that backed the study.

    Kinney said serotonin defects probably cause at least half of all SIDS cases.

    Other theories for what causes SIDS include infections and mutations that cause heart rhythm abnormalities. But it is possible that serotonin defects are an underlying cause in SIDS cases attributed to some of those defects, said Dr. Debra Ellyn Weese-Mayer, a SIDS researcher at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center.

    While the study involved only a small number of infants, it is a convincing argument for the brain stem theory, said Weese-Mayer, who was not involved in the research.

    SIDS kills more than 2,000 U.S. infants each year and is the leading cause of death in U.S. babies after the newborn period. Rates are similar in other Western nations, but SIDS definitions vary elsewhere, so global rates are unclear, Kinney said.

    In the United States, a death is pronounced SIDS after an autopsy and death scene investigation. A SIDS diagnosis means no other cause of death can be found in an otherwise healthy infant who dies suddenly. Over the years, some cases that were written off as SIDS proved to be homicides, sometimes committed by mothers who smothered their babies.

    Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  • #2
    My wife was telling me about this today. In a way it can provide closure to parents who lost a baby.
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
    IACOJ Attack

    Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

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    • #3
      Wow......

      Wow that is a great article. Thank you for sharing it with us......
      "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

      Life on the Truck (Quint) is good.....

      Eat til you're sleepy..... Sleep til you're hungry..... And repeat.....

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      • #4
        more to ponder

        Go to www.nvic.org and check out more dangers to kids. My first born is a victim.

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        • #5
          My heart goes out to all families who have lived through this or something similar. I was blessed with two very healthy and rapidly growing boys (still in Canada) so do not know the experience of loosing a child, and hope to never know that feeling. So ya, hopefully they can make something out of the information. Still very sad that they can't make the assessment without an autopsy - that too is very hard on a family.
          If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

          "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

          "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

          Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

          impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

          IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

          Comment

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