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SIDS Babies with abnormal Serotonin Levels may cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

March 8th, 2006

SIDS  Babies with abnormal Serotonin Levels may cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Baby should sleep on their back

Researchers believe that they have found strong evidence that there is a disturbance of specific neurochemical activity in the brains of infants that cause sudden infant death syndrome.  The researchers from the University of Chicago and colleagues first reported their findings in the March 8th issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) will be the cause of death for approximately 3,000 babies in the United States.  SIDS is the primary cause of death for babies under the age of one.

What was discovered was that the serotonin levels in the brain need to be at a normal level.  When the serotonin levels are not normal it fails to trigger a gasping mechanism when the baby needs air.  The serotonin during an event of hypoxia will trigger pacemaker cells that will restart the breathing process as needed.


"This confirms our previous studies," said lead author Jan-Marino Ramirez, a professor of organismal biology and anatomy. "Now we've just better defined the players in the system."

"It indicates that if there's a problem with serotonin, the gasping is gone," Ramirez said. "And when these children don't gasp, they don't wake up."

If a baby seems otherwise healthy, it is only when the baby is sleeping that the airway is blocked and the child is not receiving enough oxygen.  The baby would need to have the sodium-drive pacemaker to initiate a gasp for air.  This gasping would wake the baby, causing it to move or cry and start breathing again. 


"Gasping is an important arousal or auto-resuscitation mechanism." Ramirez said.  "During normal breathing, it's a complicated network. However, the network becomes more vulnerable to situations like hypoxia, because under these conditions, respiration relies on only one group of pacemakers that become the critical drivers of [breathing] rhythm."

It is possible that people that suffer with other conditions that have serotonin level disturbances could have been survivors of SIDS as a baby.  These conditions are depression, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit disorder.


It is recommended that a baby sleeps on its back without any stuffed animals or fluffy bedding in a safety approved crib.  The crib should not have overly big gaps between the rods that keep the baby from rolling out.  Your crib should be functioning correctly and not be broken.  You should tuck the blanket under the mattress.  Take baby toys out of the crib.  Sharing a bed with an infant may also increase a risk for SIDS.  Don't smoke around the baby as this may increase the risk for SIDS.  Use a baby monitor when your baby sleeps to listen for any noises or have the crib in the same room as you.  Ask your pediatrician for tips for preventing SIDS at your next doctor visit.

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Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

Books on Pregnancy

Keywords and misspellings: priatal prenatal pre-natal S.I.D.S. suden infent deth sindrome cot death crib death suffication infantile SIDS prevention and saftey pevent sids

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:48 PM