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A new study published in the journal The Lancet eBioMedicine can identify infants at risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) using a biochemical marker.
According to the Mayo Clinic, SIDS is the unexplained death of a seemingly healthy infant, usually during sleep. The CDC SIDS reported that in 2019, infant mortality in the United States was 37%.
Researchers studying the cause of SIDS at Children’s Hospital (West) in Westmid, Australia, say they have identified the first biochemical marker to help identify infants at risk of sudden death syndrome while still alive.
Dr. Carmel Harrington, an honorary researcher who led the study, said her findings were changing. Harrington explained the study to SIDS and said he hopes to prevent deaths related to this mysterious condition.
“It was a nightmare for every parent that a healthy baby didn’t fall asleep or wake up, and so far there has been no way to tell which baby will succumb. But that’s not the case now. We’ve found the first marker that shows vulnerability to death,” Harrington told the Press. in the release.
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According to the study, Australian researchers analyzed the levels of a specific enzyme called butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) in 722 dry blood spots (DBS) born as part of a newborn screening program. Each of them compared the 10 surviving infants whose AIDS and other causes died with equal measure of BChE, date of birth, and sex.
According to the published report, investigators found lower levels of BChE in infants who died of SIDS compared to live infant surveillance groups and other non-SIDS-related infant deaths.
“We concluded that a previously undiagnosed cholinergic deficiency identified by abnormal -BChEsa is present at birth in SIDS infants and is a specific vulnerability that can be measured before death,” the researchers said.
Researchers have shown that BChE plays an important role in the arousal of the brain. They further explained that BChE deficiency likely reduces infants’ ability to wake up or respond to the external environment, making them more susceptible to SIDS and suggesting a lack of arousal.
“Babies have a very powerful mechanism to tell us that they are unhappy. Often, babies wake up and cry when they are in a life-threatening situation, such as when they are asleep and have difficulty breathing. This study shows that some babies do not have such a strong arousal reaction.” said Harrington.
AFRICA, THE UNITED STATES
Dr. Matthew Harris, an emergency pediatrician at Cohen Children’s Medical Center / Northwell in Long Island, did not participate in the study, but told Fox News: “The results are interesting and important. The sample size is limited. It seems to indicate that it is associated with a higher risk for. Importantly, this may allow early screening of risk factors in the perinatal period and may be recommended by scientists and physicians. Ability to detect interventions. ”
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Harris added, “We are currently screening dozens of metabolic disorders in newborns as part of the screening process, and if this becomes a true association, it could be added to the growing list of diseases we can detect early and prevent disease progression.”
Harrington, who not only led the study but also lost her baby to SIDS nearly 30 years ago, said in a press release that health professionals still did not know what caused the babies to become irritable. “Now that we know BChE is involved, we can start to change the outcome of these babies and turn SIDS into a thing of the past.”