A Possible Cause of SIDS Discovered
“Can it be true?” many people wonder and many parents are asking. SIDS takes the life of approximately one baby born in every two thousand births every year and is one of the most mysterious childhood diseases that can affect infants. While the instances of SIDS is down since the “Back to Sleep” campaign began in the 90’s, it is still feared and brings the most questions of “why” to a new parents mouth when they go to check on their baby and their baby is no longer breathing.
Now it seems as if scientists have discovered a possible cause of SIDS that involves more than just a baby sleeping on their stomach or back. There are new tests that link a brain abnormality to some babies who have died of SIDS. It involves the part of the brain that controls breathing, arousal and other essential parts of awakening for a baby.
The abnormality is found in the base of the brain stem involving cells that creates the chemical serotonin. Serotonin transmits messages between the brain and nerve cells, and helps to tell the body when to breathe, as well as helping control blood pressure and body temperature. It is thought that when a baby has an abnormality in these cells they are not as quick to respond and it is not as easy to do things like turn their head when they are asleep which is where the increase of SIDS while babies sleep on their belly appears.
It is assumed that when a baby sleeps face down or is covered by blankets that they breathe back in exhaled carbon dioxide that they have just breathed out. Normally this would trigger the nerve cells in the brain stem and stimulate the respiratory and arousal areas of the brain to help the baby turn their head or uncover themselves. When the abnormality is present babies nerves are not triggered and they can then not adjust so that they can breathe clean air. It is thought that too much carbon dioxide in their system causes their little bodies to shut down.
The finding of this new possible cause of SIDS in babies is a huge encouragement to parents and experts around the country. Once a definite cause of SIDS is discovered then it will be possible for tests showing who is at risk to be created and a possible cure to be discovered for this terrible aspect of parenthood. Not having the fear of your baby dying while you sleep would surely help many parents, and babies sleep better and feel more rested in the long run.
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