A team of Australian researchers has identified a biochemical marker in the blood that could help identify newborn babies at risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), a breakthrough they said was a way out. creates for future tragedy prevention interventions.
In their study, babies who died of SIDS had lower levels of an enzyme called butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) shortly after birth, the researchers said. BChE plays an important role in the brain’s awakening pathway, and low levels would reduce a sleeping baby’s ability to wake up or react to its environment.
The findings are game-changing and offer not only hope for the future but answers for the past, said study leader Dr Carmel Harrington of The Children’s Hospital in Westmead, Australia in a statement.
“A seemingly healthy baby who sleeps and does not wake up is the nightmare of every parent and so far there has been absolutely no way of knowing which baby would fail,” Harrington said. “But that is no longer the case. We have found the first marker to indicate vulnerability prior to death.”
Using dry blood counts taken at birth as part of a neonatal screening program, Harrington’s team compared BChE levels in 26 infants who later died of SIDS, 41 infants who died of other causes, and 655 surviving infants.
The fact that the levels of the enzyme were significantly lower in the children who later died of SIDS suggests that the SIDS babies were inherently vulnerable to dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, which controls unconscious and involuntary functions in the body, the researchers.
The Sydney Children’s Hospital Network in Australia called the discovery “a world-first breakthrough.”
A failure to wake up as appropriate “has long been considered a major component of a baby’s vulnerability” to SIDS, said the research team at The Lancet’s eBio Medicine.
SIDS is the unexplained death of a seemingly healthy baby in its sleep. Harrington lost her own child to SIDS 29 years ago and has devoted her career to investigating the condition, according to the statement.
Further research “needs to be undertaken urgently” to determine whether routine measurement of BChE could potentially help prevent future SIDS deaths, the researchers said.
Blood markers identified for babies at risk for SIDS are considered ‘breakthrough’ – SABC News
Source link Blood markers identified for babies at risk for SIDS are considered ‘breakthrough’ – SABC News