Researchers make groundbreaking discoveries – vital signs help identify at-risk children


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Sudden infant death occurs while you sleep – a nightmare for young parents. But now researchers have found a biomarker that can be used to identify children at risk. (Iconic image) © imago / Cavan Images

Sudden infant death is a nightmare for parents. Now a researcher who lost her child in this way is reporting a major breakthrough.

Sydney – It’s a young parent’s biggest nightmare: The sudden infant death. The term is used to describe the unexpected and unexplained death of an infant of the first year of life, for which a cause was not found even at an autopsy. For the prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), there are several recommendations for parents: for example, there should be no cuddly toys or so-called “nests” in the crib to allow for good air circulation. In addition, the baby should not sleep on his stomach if possible.

Risk factors include very young mothers, drug or cigarette consumption during pregnancy, as well as premature birth or a very low birth weight. On the other hand, little is known about the true cause of sudden infant death – until now. Researchers led by Carmel Harrington have now discovered the causes of sudden infant death syndrome. They did this by examining the blood of children who had died of cot death and comparing it with the blood of children who had died of other causes and with the blood of healthy children.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Researcher Finds Cause in Babies

The researchers found a difference: Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) activity was significantly lower in infants who died of SIDS than in live infants and children whose deaths were from other causes. BChE plays an important role in brain connectivity. Researchers hypothesize that enzyme deficiency may reduce an infant’s ability to wake up or respond to its external environment – leading to susceptibility to sudden infant death syndrome. Enzyme deficiency can cause the baby stop breathing during sleepdoes not surprise or wake up.

A seemingly healthy baby who sleeps and never wakes up is every parent’s nightmare, and yet there is no way of knowing which baby will die because of it. But this is no longer the case. We found the first sign of danger before death.

“A child who appears healthy and sleeps and never wakes is every parent’s nightmare, and as yet there is no way of knowing which child will die from it. But that is no longer the case. We found the first sign of danger,” said Harrington, lead author of the study. before death” Published in the journal eBioMedicine has become. “Children have a very powerful mechanism for letting us know when they are not happy. Children usually wake up and cry when they are faced with a life-threatening situation, such as difficulty breathing during sleep because they are on their stomachs,” Harrington said in one case. Connection from Children’s Hospital Westmead (CHW) in Sydneythat you are looking for. “This research shows that some children do not have this strong excitatory response.”

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: The researcher herself lost her baby due to sudden infant death syndrome

There’s also a personal fate behind the search: Carmel Harrington herself lost her baby to SIDS 29 years ago and found out three years later that a friend’s baby also died of SIDS. Today, she wrote, “I made the solemn decision to leave no stone unturned to solve the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) mystery.” Since then, she has dedicated herself professionally to researching the topic, funding a large part of her work through Crowd-Funding-Kampagne “Damien’s Legacy”.

Now, Harrington has good news for parents: “This discovery has opened the door for action and is finally providing answers for parents who have tragically lost their children. These families can now live with the knowledge that it wasn’t their fault,” she confirms.

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) remains a common cause of infant death

In recent years, there have been campaigns around the world to prevent sudden infant death syndrome. The number of cases has since declined in many countries, the study said, but small island developing states still account for nearly half of all infant deaths in Western countries. Karen Waters, who is from SIDS and chairs the sleep apnea research group at CHW, confirms. “This finding gives our research a clear direction so we can do something to prevent this in the future.”

1990 1283
1995 751
2000 482
2010 164
2020 84
Source: Federal Statistical Office

Researchers are working to use a biomarker to identify children at risk for SIDS

By using a specific biomarker – the low BChE level – researchers can now work out how to prevent SIDS in the future. The researchers want to focus on including the biomarker in newborn screenings and develop ways to counteract severe BChE deficiency in children. The next stages of the research should take about five years, according to a statement by the CHWs.

“This discovery changes the way we look at SIDS and is the beginning of a very exciting journey. We will be able to work with children while they are alive and make sure that they are alive,” Harrington said. She can no longer bring her son to life through her work, But she can make sure that other parents don’t have to share her fate.(tab)

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