SYDNEY – May 7, 2022 – This week researchers from Sydney released the results of a study that confirmed a blood test to identify infants at risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS accounts for about 37% of sudden unexpected infant deaths a year in the U.S. The cause is unknown.
SIDS refers to the unexplained deaths of infants under a year old while sleeping. Parents are told that SIDS could be prevented if they take proper precautions such as: laying babies on their backs, not letting them overheat and keeping all toys and blankets out of the crib. However, many children still die from SIDS despite parents following these precautions. Therefore, parents are left with immense guilt.
One of these parents, Dr. Carmel Harrington is the lead researcher for the study. Her infant son died 29 years ago. In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Harrington said, “These families can now live with the knowledge that this was not their fault.”
The Sydney researchers found the activity of an enzyme that plays a major role in the brain’s sleep arousal pathway was significantly lower in babies who died of SIDS. According to the Mayo Clinic, SIDS could be caused by a defect in the part of the brain that controls arousal from sleep. If an infant with this defect stopped breathing during sleep, then the child may be unable to wake up. The study analyzed dried blood samples taken from newborns who died from SIDS and other causes and blood taken from healthy babies.
The researchers opined, “This finding represents the possibility for the identification of infants at risk for SIDS prior to death and opens new avenues for future research into specific interventions.”
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Contact: Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, firstname.lastname@example.org