International studies with the participation of the University of Adelaide have identified developmental abnormalities in infants, especially premature infants and boys associated with cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Researchers believe that the abnormal movement of the head and neck, breathing, heart rate and oxygen deficiency can be the reason that some children sleeping on the stomach, more at risk of SIDS. Results of the study of 55 cases of SIDS in the United States published in the journal PLOS ONE.
"One of the reasons that SIDS is so damaging to the family, is that death occurs without visible signs of the disease," - said Dr. Fiona Bright of the University of Adelaide. - Although the exact cause of death has not been identified, several studies have pointed to a subgroup of children with SIDS. We found a significant anomaly in the key areas of the brain in children with SIDS, especially in the areas that control breathing and movement of the head and neck. This anomaly is directly linked with cases of SIDS. "
The anomaly is to convey neuropeptide known as "substance P", and its binding to a neuroreceptor "neurokinin-1» (NK1R). Until now, research on the role of substance P in SIDS have been inconclusive.
"Substance P and neuroceptors NK1R play a crucial role in the respiratory system controlling the brain and how the body responds to hypoxia, ie, oxygen deprivation at the cellular level, - said Dr. Bright -. A baby with this pathology violated respiratory and motor reaction that is life-threatening. Although they may be healthy, it is probable that the brain and the baby's body can not adequately respond to the lack of oxygen. "This pathology is the main reason for the children's dangerous to sleep on his stomach.
"The child is exposed to greater risk, because his body just can not respond in the usual way Raise your child's head, and his breathing and heartbeat are restored.", - she says.
The study showed that abnormal functioning of substance P in a greater impact on premature infants and male infants.
"The problem in children with SIDS is more complicated than once thought, and, most likely, due to the interaction of a number of chemicals, including serotonin - says Dr. Bright -. Ultimately, we hope that future research will lead to the development of screening methods and biomarkers to identify babies who may be at risk for SIDS. "
The study was funded charity River's Gift SIDS. It was founded in 2011 by two parents who have tried to understand the reasons for the sudden death of a healthy four-month son.