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NewsScientists have discovered a possible cause of babies suddenly dying while they...

Scientists have discovered a possible cause of babies suddenly dying while they sleep


American scientists have identified a possible risk factor in children who die suddenly in their sleep during the first year of life. According to a study, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) may be associated with abnormal functioning of serotonin receptors in the medulla oblongata. published in the Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology.

The sudden death of a child in respiratory arrest before the age of one year is one of the most frequent causes of infant mortality. In the United States, an average of 39 out of 100,000 newborns die from it. As a rule, death occurs in a dream, and an autopsy does not establish the true cause of respiratory arrest. Scientists from different countries are therefore trying to find out the nature of this syndrome.

Scientists led by Robin Hynes of Boston Children’s Hospital, in an effort to understand the biological causes of SIDS, examined elongated bone marrow cells from 70 deceased children diagnosed with such a diagnosis, collected by the San Diego Medical Examiner’s Service from 2004 to 2011.

By comparing brain cells with samples from the control group taken from children who died before age 1 of other causes, scientists drew attention to abnormalities in the structure of serotonin 5-HT2A/ C in the samples of the first group. Past animal experiments have shown that these receptors are responsible for awakening and regaining consciousness when the brain lacks oxygen. The study showed that this factor causes sudden infant death syndrome under certain circumstances.

Specifically, death from SIDS can occur in the simultaneous combination of three circumstances – the child is in a critical period of development of the cardiorespiratory system in the first year of life, has the indicated anomaly in the work of receptors and there is an impact of external factors, for example, sleeping face down or in the same bed as an adult.

“The study builds on the work of our own labs and others that have identified abnormalities in the serotonergic system of some children with SIDS,” Haynes explained. “Although we have identified abnormalities in the 5-HT2A/C receptor, the relationship between the abnormalities and the cause of death remains unknown. At present, we do not have the ability to identify children with biological abnormalities of the serotonergic system. Therefore, following the advice for safe sleep remains essential.

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