A biological anomaly could explain sudden infant death syndrome

Serotonin receptors that play a role in brain oxygenation during sleep may explain SIDS. The researchers noted two other risk factors.

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Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome corresponds to the sudden death of a previously healthy infant under the age of 1, often while asleep. In France, between 250 and 350 children die each year. We talk about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) when the cause is unknown, in about 50% of cases.

In an effort to explain this mysterious syndrome, researchers have identified three risk factors. First, the first year of a baby’s life is a “critical period” for heart and respiratory development. Then he can be easily upset by an external pressure, such as sharing a bed or lying on his stomach. But the researchers also brought up a possible biological anomaly that would make the infant vulnerable to respiratory problems while it slept.

Serotonin receptors are involved

The study was published in Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neuroscience Shows that serotonin 2A/C receptors are altered in SIDS cases, compared to control infants. Scientists examined the brain stems of 70 infants who died between 2004 and 2011, looking for abnormalities. According to previous work in rodents, the signals of the respective receptor would contribute to alertness and autoreactivity, by protecting the oxygenation state of the brain during sleep.

There are still gray areas to explain the relationship between this biological abnormality and the cause of SIDS, and recommendations may be followed before the next study. ” At present, we have no means of identifying infants with biological abnormalities in the serotonergic system. Therefore it is essential to follow safe sleep practices », Warn Co-author Robin Hines, in a statement.

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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