SIDS linked to brain chemical

A new discovery may someday lead to better ways to prevent SIDS. Researchers in Australia say they've detected striking abnormalities in a brain chemical of infants who died of  SIDS.The babies showed  low levels of a brain chemical known as substance P.

 "It's in centers of the brain that are important for  the control of head and neck movement, control of cardio-respiratory  function  in infants," says Dr. Fiona Bright, a researcher at the University of Adelaide.

The scientists analyzed brain tissue of 55 babies who'd died in the United States and found a lack of substance P, most commonly in boys and premature babies. A lack of substance P found most commonly in boys, and premature babies.

Professor Rodger Byard, Chair of Pathology at the University of Adelaide says, "If you have reduced levels then you are not going to function  as well  and if you are put in a dangerous situation you can't get out of it . Why don't SIDS babies just lift their heads? Because they don't have substance P."
 
Within 15 years researchers are hoping genetic screening will be available to detect the abnormality in babies within the first few months of life
 
But parents should still follow SIDS sleeping advice, for every child: 
Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet. 
Keep all soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys out of the crib.


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