Researchers are finding the cause of the infant’s sudden death syndrome

A baby’s feet are seen in a crib. (Photo by Fabian Strauch / picture Alliance via Getty Images)

Scientists have published a new study that may provide an innovative view of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), an event that has previously baffled the medical community.

SIDS is the unexplained death of a seemingly healthy baby under one year of age, usually during sleep, according to the Mayo Clinic. The CDC reports that SIDS accounted for 37% of child deaths in the United States in 2019.

Researchers at Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia, have now been able to confirm the cause of SIDS, which usually occurs when babies die suddenly while sleeping.

The medical community had previously believed that SIDS was caused by a complication in the part of the baby’s brain that controls the regulation of breathing while sleeping.

In the latest study, researchers found that babies who died of SIDS had lower levels of an enzyme known as butyrylcholinesterase (BChE).

Scientists believe that this enzyme helps regulate the pathways in the brain that drive a person’s breathing, confirming what the scientists had originally proposed.

“We conclude that a previously unidentified cholinergic deficit, identifiable by -BChEsa abnormal, is present at birth in infants with SIDS and represents a measurable and specific vulnerability prior to death,” the researchers said.

Dr. Carmel Harrington, an honorary researcher who led the study, said his findings changed the game. Harrington said the study provided an explanation for SIDS and the hope for the prevention of deaths associated with this mysterious condition.

“A seemingly healthy baby who goes to bed and doesn’t wake up is every parent’s nightmare and so far there was no way of knowing which baby would succumb. But that’s not the case anymore. We’ve found the first marker that indicates vulnerability before death, “Harrington said in a press release.

The researchers explained that BChE plays a vital role in the brain’s excitation pathway. In addition, they explained that a BChE deficiency probably suggests an arousal deficit in infants, which would reduce their ability to wake up or respond to the external environment, making them susceptible to SIDS.

“Babies have a very powerful mechanism for letting us know when they’re not happy. It will wake up and scream. What this research shows is that some babies don’t have the same robust arousal response, “Harrington said.

Dr. Matthew Harris, a pediatrician in emergency medicine at Cohen Children’s Medical Center / Northwell Health in Long Island, New York, did not participate in the study, but told Fox News: “The findings of the study are interesting. Although the sample size is limited, the study seems to indicate that lower levels of this enzyme are associated with a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome. an opportunity for both early detection of risk factors during the perinatal period, and could provide scientists and physicians with an opportunity to discover an intervention. ”

How Parents Can Avoid SIDS, According to Pediatricians:

  • Place your baby on his back during all hours of sleep
  • Avoid leaving loose blankets that could drown your child
  • Keep babies in their parents ‘or guardians’ sleeping area for at least six months, but not in adult beds.

FOX News contributed to this story.

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