Sudden Infant Death: Cause Serotonin Deficiency?



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Sudden Infant Death: Is The Cause Just Serotonin Deficiency?

The so-called "sudden child death" still causes a lot of fear among parents in the first year of life.
According to the latest findings from researchers at the US Harvard Medical School, the early death of babies is due to a deficiency in the messenger serotonin.

In the first years of life there is still a lot of worry and fear among parents that one morning they will find their own child dead in their bed. Parents often check their children's beds and see if they are still breathing or moving. The reason for this is the so-called "Sudden Infant Death." (SIDS - Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). American researchers now seem to have shed light on this previously inexplicable cause of death.

The scientists led by Hannah C. Kinney, MD, from the Boston Children's Hospital, published their results in the journal "JAMA" (issue 3030, no. 5; February 3, 2010). They stated that they found significantly less serotonin in brain samples from dead infants with different causes of death, among those who died from sudden infant death. And they also lacked the enzymes necessary for the production of serotonin.

Serotonin transmits messages between nerve cells. It is active in the areas of breathing regulation, heartbeat and sleep. It is conceivable that the affected children are not so able to compensate for fluctuations in oxygen and can suffocate. So far, sudden infant death syndrome has been associated with lying on the prone while sleeping. According to the researchers at Harvard Medical School, it is conceivable here that infants have a lower oxygen content in the inhaled air when they inhale their own air due to the prone position.
Infants with a functioning alarm system through enough serotonin in the brain then watch well and change position to breathe in more oxygen.

So far the only recommendation has been that babies should sleep on their backs for the first few years of life. Kinney now hopes that in the future it will be possible to measure the serotonin level of infants in the blood. Then you could specifically monitor babies with low serotonin levels and deficient enzymes. The future must now provide the reason for the lack of serotonin. However, other factors such as stress and a general weakness of the organism's compensation are also discussed. In addition to saving lives, the hopefully results that will soon be therapeutically usable would certainly also bring reassurance to parents in the early years of their child's life. (Thorsten Fischer, naturopath osteopathy, February 4th, 2010)

For further reading:

The study
Hannah C. Kinney's page on her research

Author and source information



Video: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome


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