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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."

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

Aah thank you Pollaidh for your comments.

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.

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.

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 07:42:06

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.

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

I also remember Sally Clark. Poor, poor woman.

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

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

rafichagran Sat 14-May-22 16:59:03

I too am sorry for Sally Clark. She probably never got the chance to grieve. RIP

M0nica Sat 14-May-22 15:50:48

Well, some people do kill their children and try and pass it off as anything they can, but I do think the authorities should also deal with the parents of all potential SIDS death with kid gloves and assume the death was caused by SIDs until there is enough evidence to change their view.

Grammaretto Sat 14-May-22 15:45:58

My nephew and partner lost their baby girl to SIDS at 2 months - the same day his sister's boy was born.
One more awful thing these grieving parents had to endure was the police arriving to tell them not to touch anything. They had to leave the house with their 2 boys and not return until a thorough investigation had happened. Unexplained death, you see - they could have killed their baby!

Chocolatelovinggran Sat 14-May-22 15:25:41

rafichagran, I am so sorry to hear of your sad experience.
Like other posters I thought immediately of Sally Clark - and the terrible power of incompetent "experts".
Hopefully, this awful tragedy can be averted in the future.

mokryna Sat 14-May-22 14:17:30

rafichagran So sorry to hear of your loss flowers

M0nica Sat 14-May-22 14:14:24

This is only one of many causes of SIDS. When my children were born official advice was to lie babies on their side, so that they did not choke on their vomit, if they did so.

After this advice was changed to lying babies on their backs the incidence of SIDS dropped dramataically. Other causes have also been identified.

SIDS is like cancer an umbrella term for a single result from multipe causes.

Shandy57 Sat 14-May-22 13:54:40

I hope Sally Clark's husband has learnt of this breakthrough Cs783. Her case is the reason I disapprove of the death sentence, justice isn't always done.

Cs783 Sat 14-May-22 13:37:17

RIP Sally Clark

grannyactivist Sat 14-May-22 13:10:45

As a teenager I clearly remember holding my baby brother whilst desperately trying to will him back to life. To know that a cause has at last been identified for SIDS will bring peace of mind for many parents whose baby has died from this, and hope that in the future there will be fewer deaths.

That the lead researcher used her own personal experience of it to pursue the cause of SIDS is testament to how even the worst of circumstances can produce positive outcomes. 👏🏻👏🏻

Cs783 Sat 14-May-22 13:08:32

Thank you for sharing that, FarNorth. Looks like a massive breakthrough.

sodapop Sat 14-May-22 13:00:44

Definitely a breakthrough, let's hope there is some way of preventing deaths now.
Such a tragedy for parents when there is no known cause.

Germanshepherdsmum Sat 14-May-22 12:58:14

So very sorry to hear that rafichagran.💐

rafichagran Sat 14-May-22 12:50:32

So do I, Mokryna my lovely baby son died, not from Sids, but I know the pain it causes. Glad it shows the parents are not to blame.

SueDonim Sat 14-May-22 12:39:37

That’s such a breakthrough. I hope it means an end to SIDS. I’ve known a number of mums who’ve lost their baby in such a tragic way. One who took her new baby to show him off to her former work colleagues and when she went to get him out of the pram, he was gone. Unbearable. 😥

lemsip Sat 14-May-22 10:11:02

my granddaugther is 28 now but when she was 3 weeks old she was unrousable when due for a feed.... Doctor arrived swiftly laid her on his hand and lightly 'tickled' her toes and thank god she woke wrote a note and instructions to dial 999 if it happened a gain and give ..she was admitted to hospital the next day for thorough tests which proved nothng of the cause.......

LadyStardust Sat 14-May-22 09:55:01

Excellent news. I really hope this info will help prevent further deaths. My firstborn was a preemie and at the time considered to be more at risk of SIDS. I still felt I had to check he was breathing normally during the night for years. (Also as a drunken young man, but that's another story!)

Redhead56 Sat 14-May-22 09:41:27

Our granddaughters were pre mature born 24 weeks and in NICU units for weeks then sent home. Only for our sons actions giving CPR one of the twins would have died because of sleep apnea. She went back into the special care unit for two more weeks and was monitored constantly.

There may not be but I often thought there may be a connection to sudden death syndrome. I had a baby sister who died and two friends babies died with no explanation given. It was considered one of those things that happens my mum never got over my sisters death.

mokryna Sat 14-May-22 09:34:58

Very good news. It takes the blame off the parents.

I thought that the number deaths had fallen because people were told not to lay children on their stomachs as we had been told to do in the 70s.