Groundbreaking new study finds possible explanation for SIDS

Groundbreaking new study finds possible explanation for SIDS

(Gray News) – A breakthrough in medical research may have just solved the mystery of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Researchers at Westmead Children’s Hospital in Australia have identified the first biochemical marker that could help identify babies at higher risk of SIDS while they are alive.

The biomarker, an enzyme called butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), was analyzed in the study published by Lancet’s eBioMedicine on Saturday.

The study measured BChE activity in the blood of infants collected at birth. BChE was then measured in both SIDS victims and infants who died from other causes, and these values ​​were compared to those of surviving babies of the same birthday and sex.

The study found that BChE levels at birth in babies who later died from SIDS were significantly lower than BChE levels in infants who died from other causes and in living babies.

BChE plays an important role in the brain’s excitation pathway. Therefore, the researchers believe that low BChE levels likely indicate an arousal deficit that reduces a baby’s ability to wake up or respond to their surroundings, leading to a susceptibility to SIDS.

dr Carmel Harrington led the study. According to a press release, she lost her own child to SIDS 29 years ago.

Harrington said the results are groundbreaking.

“Babies have a very powerful mechanism for letting us know when they’re not happy. When a baby is faced with a life-threatening situation, such as B. Difficulty breathing while sleeping because lying on his stomach usually wakes him up and screams. What this research shows is that some babies don’t have the same robust arousal response,” Harrington said in a press release. “This has long been believed, but until now we didn’t know what caused the lack of arousal. Now that we know BChE is involved, we can start changing the outcome for these babies and make SIDS a thing of the past.”

Harrington also said she hopes the results will bring some peace to grieving families.

“A seemingly healthy baby who falls asleep and doesn’t wake up is every parent’s nightmare and until now there was absolutely no way of knowing which baby would die. But that’s no longer the case,” Harrington said. “This discovery has opened the door to action and finally provides answers for parents who have so tragically lost their children. These families can now live with the knowledge that this was not their fault.”

The researchers said the next step is to measure the biomarker BChE in newborns at birth and then design specific interventions to address the enzyme deficiency in infants who have it.

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