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Researchers Find Biomarker of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

eBioMedicine.“An apparently healthy baby going to sleep and not waking up is every parent’s nightmare, and until now, there was absolutely no way of knowing which infant would succumb. But that’s not the case anymore,” Dr. Harrington said in an interview with The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network.“Babies have a very powerful mechanism to let us know when they are not happy.

Usually, if a baby is confronted with a life-threatening situation, such as difficulty breathing during sleep because they are on their tummies, they will arouse and cry out. What this research shows is that some babies don’t have this same robust arousal response,” she said. ADVERTISEMENT SIDS, or “cot death,” refers to the sudden, unexplained death of an otherwise healthy baby less than a year old.

The CDC estimates that around 3,400 cases of SIDS and other unexpected infant deaths occur yearly in the US.Luckily, rates of SIDS have dramatically decreased since the 1990s due to heightened awareness and knowledge of the condition. However, some racial and ethnic groups, such as Native Americans, African Americans, and Alaska Natives, still experience higher instances of SIDS. ADVERTISEMENT Scientists still don’t know the exact cause of SIDS, but they believe certain factors increase a baby’s vulnerability.

Infants with brain defects or genetic mutations that impact breathing and organ health may have a higher risk. Also, premature babies could have a higher likelihood of developing SIDS. These genetic vulnerabilities may threaten the baby’s survival and environmental factors such as exposure to secondhand smoke and sleeping positions.The researchers analyzed BChE levels in 722 Dried Blood Spots (DBS) obtained at birth.

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