Australian researchers discover the reason behind sudden infant death syndrome
In a breakthrough, Australian researchers have identified a biomarker that could detect babies more at risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) while they are alive. SIDS is the unexplained death of an apparently healthy infant under one year of age during sleep. The incidence of SIDS has more than halved in recent years due to public health campaigns that potentially address the known major risk factors of sleepiness, maternal smoking and overheating. However, rates of SIDS remain high, contributing to about 50 percent of all postpartum deaths in Western countries.
A team from Children’s Hospital in Westmead (CHW) identified butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) as a biochemical marker that may help prevent death in infants.
In the study, published in The Lancet’s Biomedicine, the team analyzed BChE activity in 722 dried blood spots (DBS) taken at birth as part of a newborn screening program.
BChE was measured in both infants who died of SIDS and other causes and each was compared to 10 surviving infants with the same date of birth and sex.
The findings showed that BChE levels were significantly lower in children who died of SIDS later than in surviving controls and other infant deaths, said lead author Dr. Carmel Harrington, a research student at CHW, who died 29 years ago in her childhood. The child was lost to SIDS.
BChE plays a major role in the brain’s arousal pathway and researchers believe that its deficiency likely indicates a lack of stimulation, which impairs an infant’s ability to wake up or respond to the external environment. Which makes you vulnerable to SIDS.
“Babies have a very powerful mechanism to tell us when they are not happy. Generally, if a baby is experiencing a life-threatening situation, such as breathing during sleep Difficulty because they are on their stomachs, they will get excited and cry. This research shows that some babies do not have the same intense stimulus response,” said Dr. Harrington.
“This has long been thought to be the case, but until now we did not know what caused the lack of stimulation. Now that we know that BChE is involved we can begin to change the outcome for these children and Might make SIDS a thing of the past.”
After losing his son Damien to SIDS, Dr. Harrington has dedicated his career to finding answers to the condition. Harrington said these results not only offer hope for the future, but also answers to the past.
“This discovery opens up the possibility of intervention and finally answers to parents who have so tragically lost their children. These families can now live with the knowledge that it was not their fault.” “
The next step for researchers is to begin introducing BChE biomarkers into newborn screening and to develop specific interventions to address enzyme deficiencies.
Read all the latest news, breaking news and IPL 2022 live updates here.