Researchers find link between changes in brain chemistry and SIDS

Researchers find link between changes in brain chemistry and SIDS

A new study conducted by a team of researchers at University of Adelaide has confirmed that there is a strong link between abnormalities in a common brain chemical and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The researchers examined 41 cases of deaths related to SIDS and found striking abnormalities in chemical serotonin in the brains of the victims.

Serotonin, which is also known as 5-HT, is a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and many other parts of the human body. It plays several roles, including regulation of sleep and control of the cardiovascular system.

SIDS is the sudden unexpected death of an infant under one year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation, including an autopsy.

PhD student Dr. Fiona Bright, who led the study under the supervision of Prof. of Pathology Roger Byard, said, “Our research is significant because it has confirmed that abnormalities in serotonin in the brain are most definitely linked to cases of SIDS. This helps to support the findings of the American research.”

SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants under one year of age in the developed world, including Australia.

The researchers reported their findings in the latest edition of the Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology.