‘Hard core proof’ could offer the breakthrough for babies dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
BABIES could be screened at birth for risks of SIDS following a major breakthrough in understanding the mysterious killer.
Infants who die from SIDS are found to have decreased levels of a sleep regulating brain protein, researchers at Sydney’s Children’s Hospital at Westmead have discovered.
‘It’s linked that there is a sleep related issue, which we’ve always known because the babies die in their sleep, but we didn’t know what it was linked to but this protein seems to be a major player in it,’ the hospital’s sleep unit manager Dr Rita Machaalani told the Daily Telegraph.
The number of babies dying from SIDS has decreased, due to educating parents on dangers including risky sleeping positions and exposure to cigarette smoke.
But Dr Machaalani hopes research will lower this figure further.
‘Parents aren’t doing those (risky) things anymore and yet babies are still dying, why would one baby die and another baby in the same situation not die? There has got to be something underlying that,’ Dr Machaalani said.
Dr Machaalani believes the brain protein breakthrough offers ‘hard core proof’ for the theory that SIDS was related to sleep.
Her research group will now working on determining the best level of Orexin suited for a baby’s brains, which would ideally lead to some sort of diagnostic tool like being screened at birth to prevent SIDS deaths.
‘If we can determine what’s the normal level in babies when born than we can use those abnormalities to predict kids that might be at risk in the future of SIDS or sleep apnoea,’ Dr Machaalani told the Daily Telegraph.
Red Nose said, annually, 3,200 families experience the sudden and unexpected death of a baby or child.
New guidelines recently stated that infants should sleep in the same bedroom as their parents for at least the first six months of their lives.
The new guidelines also encourage skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible after birth to help prevent SIDS.
The new guidelines emphasize the importance of placing infants on their back for EVERY sleep, naptime or night time, at home, at grandma’s, at day care and placing babies in a crib or bassinet with a firm mattress, without pillows, soft/loose blankets, bumper pads, or other soft objects, in mother’s/parent’s room close to her bed.
Share your comments below.
Image shutterstockWe may get commissions for purchases made using links in this post. Learn more.