‘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.

Related story: New guidelines issued to help prevent SIDS both in and outside home


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  • I hope they can get to the bottom of it asap!


  • Glad that parents know how to reduce the risks of SIDS but unfortunately we haven’t found how to prevent it.


  • A few years ago I worked with a voluntary St. Johns Ambulance Officer.
    One morning he came into work very subdued, not his usual happy bubbly himself, no jokes at all. During our break he told us he had been called out to what he suspected was a SIDS baby. He had recently attended a few calls.
    He said he had put in a special report as in those cases the baby had a strong sulphur type odour. Most had wet nappies. One had been fed, changed and put in the bassinet only an hour before.


  • Great news for a horrible illness. Isn’t it wonderful to be living when we do.


  • This is wonderful news! I hope they can get to the bottom of it soon!


  • This information came out in the Uk approximately 30 years ago, but seemed to disappear again. As a parent of a SIDS baby, hope it’s not another false lead to finding the real cause behind SIDS. I know I for one will read all information I can find on research into SIDS, with the hope that the real cause be finally found, so babies and families will no longer suffer this grief

    • Blessings to you and all the other mums of precious SIDS babies !!
      Not pretty when this article suggest this is a new breakthrough when it is old news indeed. Meanwhile I hope it is tested and has brought result.


  • The US has the highest first day infant mortality rate of all the developed countries combined! It also has the highest uptake of the the toxic filled Hep B shot goven for the sexually transmitted disease within hours of birth. NZ has the highest infant mortality within the first 6 weeks, they also have the heaviest vaccine schedule within the first 6 weeks. Parents have said again and again even when they know there is a correlation, Doctors will not write vaccines as cause, they write SIDS. Mothers of SIDS babies have written books about this, just do a little research you can find a wealth of info!! The CDC has baby’s on approx 45 doses of vaccines in the first 6 months of life. What aggressively against this immune system that is not even developed yet. I hope mother around the world wake up and follow their mother’s instinct! Doctor does not know best when their is billions of dollars in profit to be lost!


  • As the mother of a precious Sids baby I can only hope this is the answer to why I lost my beautiful David 33yrs ago or at very least the start to the answer. Cant wait for more info to be released.


  • I really hope this does save some precious lives!


  • Can’t wait to read the scientific paper on this research


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