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New Biomarker Can Detect Babies At Risk Of SIDS

Aug, 2022 - By WMR

New Biomarker Can Detect Babies At Risk Of SIDS

A landmark study found a new blood biomarker that can be incorporated into screening of newborn babies for detecting infants at highest risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is one of the foremost cause of deaths in infants and there was no particular physiological factor found until now that causes the syndrome making babies more vulnerable. Now, a group of researcher at Sydney Children Hospital found the first ever biomarker associated with brain arousal that could be used for identifying infants that are at highest risk of SIDS.

With all the studies identifying more and more environmental factors for last few years, the number of infant deaths from SIDS is reduced.  However, with all these studies, SIDS is still responsible for 50% of infant deaths in Western regions. In this new study, the researchers focused on a specific enzyme known as butyrlycholinesterase (BChE). This enzyme is part of arousal systems of brain and according to the researchers, lack of BChE could increase risk of SIDS for an infant exposing it to other factors contributing to SIDS. The team studied levels of BChE in sample of dried blood spot taken from 722 babies at birth. Out of this group of subjects, 67 faced sudden and unexpected death between the age of one week and two years. Out of these 67 deaths, 26 were classified as SIDS related deaths and 41 were non-SIDS deaths.

Furthermore, subjects died of SIDS had significantly low BChE levels at birth compared to a control group of healthy infants and group of infants dying due to other causes. According to the scientists, the study indicated that low BChE levels could increase vulnerability of infants to SIDS. The research needs more work to validate the findings as this is the first ever measurable blood biomarker that could help to indicate risk of SIDS allowing doctors and parents to identify infants with high risk of SIDS.

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