Researchers identify important biomarker for SIDS – Update | BioSpace

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) accounts for approximately 37% of sudden, unexpected infant deaths annually in the United States, and the cause of SIDS has remained largely unknown. On Saturday, researchers from Children’s Hospital Westmead in Sydney published a study that identified the first biochemical marker that could help detect babies at higher risk of SIDS in their lifetime.

SIDS refers to unexplained deaths of infants under the age of one and usually occurs while the child is sleeping. According to Mayo Clinicmany in the medical community suspected this phenomenon could be caused by a defect in the part of the brain that controls waking from sleep and breathing. The theory was that if the infant stopped breathing while asleep, the defect would prevent him from jumping up or waking up.

The Sydney researchers were able to confirm this theory by analyzing dried blood samples taken from newborn babies who died of SIDS and other unknown causes. Each SIDS sample was then compared with blood taken from healthy babies. They found that butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) enzyme activity was significantly lower in babies who died of SIDS compared to live infants and other infant deaths unrelated to SIDS. BChE plays a major role in the brain’s wakefulness pathway, explaining why SIDS typically occurs during sleep.

Previously, parents were told that SIDS could be prevented if they just took the proper precautions: laying babies on their backs, not letting them overheat, and keeping all toys and blankets out of the crib are some of the preventative measures. the most important. Above all, they still are, because there is still no test for this biomarker.

But many children whose parents took every precaution still died of SIDS. These parents were left with immense guilt, wondering if they could have prevented the death of their baby.

Dr. Carmel Harrington, the study’s lead researcher, was one such parent. Her son died unexpectedly and suddenly as a baby 29 years ago. In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)Harington Explain what she was told about the cause of her child’s death.

“No one could tell me. They just said it was a tragedy. But it was a tragedy that didn’t fit my scientific brain.”

Since then, she has worked to find the cause of SIDS, both for herself and for the medical community as a whole. She went on to explain why this discovery is so important for parents whose babies have suffered from SIDS.

“These families can now live knowing it wasn’t their fault,” she said.

In the study, the researchers wrote, “This finding represents the possibility of identifying infants at risk for SIDS before death and opens new avenues for future research into specific interventions.”

Now that this biomarker has been confirmed, researchers can turn to a solution. Over the next few years, members of the medical community who have studied SIDS will likely be working on a screening test to identify babies at risk for SIDS and hopefully prevent it altogether.

BioSpace would like to point out that despite this breakthrough, it is still extremely important that anyone caring for a baby follow safe sleep practices. That is: lay them on their backs, don’t let them overheat, and keep all toys and blankets out of the crib. We are in contact with Dr. Harrington and look forward to further discussion of the potential implications of these findings.

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