Lack of oxygen possible cause of SIDS

Lack of oxygen possible cause of SIDS

Australian researchers believe that lack of oxygen may be the cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The staining found in the brains of babies who died of SIDS was remarkably similar to that of children who died of accidental asphyxiation. The study was published in "Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology".

Scientists from the University of Adelaide compared 176 children who died from head trauma, drowning, asphyxia or SIDS. They mainly looked for the presence and distribution of the amyloid precursor protein (APP). All 48 children who had died of SIDS had APP staining in their brain. "The staining by itself does not necessarily tell us the cause of death, but the really interesting point is the pattern of APP staining in SIDS cases," said senior author Roger Byard. "Both the amount and distribution of the staining was very similar to those in children who had died from asphyxia."

APP staining found in a baby that had died of SIDS led to the discovery of sleep apnoea in one of its siblings.

"Because of the remarkable similarity in SIDS and asphyxia cases, the question is now: is there an asphyxia-based mechanism of death in SIDS?" said Byard. "We don't know the answer to that yet, but it looks very promising."