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sudden infant death - a cause has been found

(33 Posts)
FarNorth Sat 14-May-22 08:42:17

An Australian researcher has found a cause of sudden infant death.

"The Sydney researchers were able to confirm this theory by analyzing dried blood samples taken from newborns who died from SIDS and other unknown causes. Each SIDS sample was then compared with blood taken from healthy babies. They found the activity of the enzyme butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) was significantly lower in babies who died of SIDS compared to living infants and other non-SIDS infant deaths. BChE plays a major role in the brain’s arousal pathway, explaining why SIDS typically occurs during sleep."

Germanshepherdsmum Sat 14-May-22 18:08:17

I’m so sorry grannyactivist. For you and for your parents.💐

Germanshepherdsmum Sat 14-May-22 18:09:01

I also remember Sally Clark. Poor, poor woman.

Pollaidh Sun 15-May-22 07:42:06

Sadly this is not a "cause" of SIDS. There is an excellent review of the findings here:

Prof Peter Fleming, Professor of Infant Health, University of Bristol, said:
“The authors in the paper have been very correctly reticent about this study being over interpreted.
“The study shows a small difference in the activity level of butyrylcholinesterase, taken just after birth, between those babies who died of SIDS and those who died of something else or didn’t die. But the difference is very small. It is significant at the population level but not at the individual level.

Pollaidh Sun 15-May-22 07:44:11

This is still an important study, but it might be pointing towards a biological reason why some babies are at higher risk of SIDS from the risk factors we already know about, rather than identifying a ‘new’ risk factor.

“The odds ratios in the paper for healthy babies compared to babies who died from SIDS are between 0.6 and 0.89 – this means that for babies with low levels of butyrylcholinesterase the risk of SIDS was up to 66% higher than normal. By contrast, we know that smoking in pregnancy increases the risk by 400% – so this is a small risk by comparison.

“We cannot take from this study that we can do a test on individual babies to work out their risk of SIDS, but it will be important to replicate the findings in a larger study and investigate how this finding relates to the other known risk factors for SIDS.”

Pollaidh Sun 15-May-22 07:52:19
It was putting babies to sleep on their tummies (as I did in the 1970s) that was the major factor in SIDS. Once the advice was changed, and babies put to sleep on their backs, the incidence of SIDS plumetted. There are, sadly, still about 300 cases a year (not in the thousands as previously) and my daughter is a researcher at Bristol with Fleming trying to identify the factors in these - and how to mitigate against them.

BridgetPark Sun 15-May-22 08:15:43

I too remember Sally Clark. She stood on the court steps, and looked haunted, a broken woman. The total injustice this poor woman suffered blighted her life, you can only imagine the heartache of losing her two babies, let alone being wrongly accused of being the cause of it. Shame on those supposed experts then, I don't believe they suffered any comeback, unfortunately.

Cs783 Mon 16-May-22 01:56:14

Aah thank you Pollaidh for your comments.