SIDS research shows the dangers of scientific noise

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS – is still a very poorly understood destructive disease, so when new research comes out, it may seem like a huge undertaking – especially if this study suggests a way to save children’s lives. Social media reports this week unveiled a new study that found the cause of hundreds of sudden infant deaths each year.

But while the study shows a promising direction for future research, experts say it is not a panacea. “There’s nothing definite about it,” Rachel Moon, who is studying sudden infant death syndrome at the University of Virginia, said in an email. The Verge. According to him, the growth of interest in the study is understandable, but there is no guarantee.

SIDS refers to the sudden and often unexplained death of an infant one year or younger. It’s mostly a mystery, and doctors don’t have good answers as to why. Parents of babies who have died for unknown reasons are often the focus of suspicion, which can make parents feel more guilty and lose loved ones. Medical research on SIDS Over the past few decades, there has been a focus on prevention: there is a link between how babies sleep and SIDS, so parents are encouraged to put their children on their backs and firm faces.

However, despite safe sleeping campaigns that have been effective in reducing infant mortality since the late 1980s, SIDS mortality rates in the United States have remained the same for several years. Parents of young children spend several months without explaining why they are dying, fearing that it may be with their baby.

Therefore, the new study has aroused great interest on social media. His findings were also exaggerated by the initial coverage, which claimed to indicate the exact cause of SIDS. Sometimes press releases, their researchers, or top-level reports are more prevalent with research that is portrayed as more sensational than it actually is. This is a problem that can damage people’s expectations of unrealistic decisions and their trust in science in general.

This SIDS study, published in the journal, is carefully considered EBioMedicine Last week, it shows that it is very small – it includes blood samples from 67 babies who died and 10 babies who survived. The analysis showed that infants who died of SIDS had low levels of an enzyme called butyrylcholinesterase. This does not necessarily mean that the enzyme has a role for SIDS or in infant mortality. And although there was a statistical difference between enzyme levels between the two groups of infants, there was repetition between them. This makes it difficult to develop accurate blood tests to check for SIDS-associated enzyme levels in infants, Moon said.

Individual research rarely offers clear answers, especially to complex issues such as SIDS. Science is a repetitive process and research is based on itself over time. Studying the fundamental, biological causes of devastating problems such as SIDS is important to help grieving parents eliminate stigma and suggest potential solutions. And any new discovery that points to a promising direction is useful. But it is also important to know the limits of any study. In this case, there is still a long way to go before a screening test is available for SIDS.

“It’s progress, and we should be optimistic about it, but it’s not a complete answer,” said Alison Jacobson, CEO of SIDS-focused nonprofit First Candle. “As parents who have lost their children, we understand how parents who have lost their babies to this mysterious disease are eager to respond and want to ensure that new parents do not get sick with their children. We wish it would happen someday, but not today. ”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.