Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Preventing SIDS

The reporter interviewed parents who had an 8 month old who died from SIDS. I feel naive, but I thought I was in the clear with my 5 month old. He is so mobile now. This story made me nervous about SIDS again. How am I supposed to know whether he has low serotonin levels?

FROM NBC:What could be a key piece of information on the mystery of sudden infant death syndrome. A campaign to encourage putting infants to sleep on their backs has lowered the number of SIDS cases: but new research may answer some bigger questions on what really causes the syndrome.

Howard and Pam Teibel are among two thousand families a year who lose a child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome - commonly known as SIDS. Howard: "I can't imagine what your, what you go through, and I think that, I know that what I go through is very also private."
Their baby Andrew seemed healthy but his death at 8 months brought grief, anger and many unanswered questions.

Pam: "With the death of a child comes complications of unbelievable guilt and responsibility. This happened on my watch." The known risk factors for SIDS include prematurity, being male, over-bundling, maternal smoking and exposure to second hand smoke.

But new research from Boston's Children's Hospital and others suggest that something else is going on in SIDS babies, a deficiency of serotonin, which in infants, helps regulate breathing, sleep, blood pressure, and heart rate.

Dr. Kinney: "if there's too little serotonin, that circuit doesn't function well, that alarm system doesn't work, and the baby, when stressed, goes on to die." Sleep position is still an independent risk factor for SIDS and that's why all babies should be put to sleep on their backs.

Dr. Kinney: "A normal baby will wake up, and stir and turn its head and get itself out of that dangerous situation. Facedown baby may be re-breathing carbon dioxide and this builds up."
There is currently no screening test for serotonin levels in the brain, but Kinney and colleagues hope that one day there will be.

Dr. Nancy: "What are you hearing from parents?"
Dr. Kinney: "What we hear is hope. I don't know how else to say it." Hope that fewer babies die and more families like the Teibel's are spared this terrible grief.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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