Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Breakthrough Research in a SIDS cause

Low Serotonin Production A Likely Cause For SIDS

Taking the next step in more than 20 years of research, researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston have linked sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) with low production of serotonin in the brainstem, based on a comparison of brainstem samples from infants dying of SIDS compared to brainstems of infants dying from other, known causes.

The findings, published in the Feb. 3 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, may give a concrete approach to identifying babies at risk for SIDS, the leading cause of death for infants between 1 and 12 months old in the United States.

In the brainstem, serotonin helps regulate some of the body’s involuntary actions, such as breathing, heart rate and blood pressure during sleep. The researchers, led by Children’s neuropathologist Hannah Kinney, MD, believe that a low serotonin level impairs the function of the brainstem circuits that regulate these activities, putting a baby at risk for sudden death from stresses such as rebreathing carbon dioxide when sleeping in the face down position.

The future goal of this work is to devise a test to identify infants with a serotonin brainstem defect early, and to develop preventive treatments that would correct the serotonin deficiency.

While this study provides strong evidence for a biological cause of SIDS, it also shows that other risk factors, such as sleeping on one’s stomach, can aggravate the risk. Of the SIDS infants in the current study, 95 percent died with at least one risk factor, and 88 percent died with at least two.

The next step in this research is to find out what causes abnormally low serotonin levels in the first place. Genetic variations may be partly responsible, says neuroscientist David Paterson, PhD, in Kinney’s lab, a contributing author of the paper. Kinney’s lab is searching for such variations. The CJ Foundation is also providing a grant to support Dr. Paterson’s work.

"What is also of significance", notes the CJ Foundation's Executive Director, Linda Tantawi, "is that by showing a presence of a SIDS risk factor in 95% of all cases in this study, this research underscores the need for parents and caregivers to be ever vigilant in implementing all safe sleep/SIDS risk-reduction practices. For parents who suffered the loss of a baby, perhaps this study, by finding strong evidence of an underlying biological cause of SIDS will give them peace of mind as well as hope that one day we will truly eliminate SIDS."

Video Link and article information

Hope for 2010

I thought I would start this blog with HOPE. It is amazing to me how much power just 4 little letters of the alphabet have to offer us. I attended our ladies night at my church and our pastor's wife was our speaker. She was diagnosed with Colon Cancer in the beginning of the year and she talks about her journey. Wow, she is young, energetic and a very Godly woman. She has become a pillar of strength for me. Her lecture was about things that she learned in 2009 and they really hit home for me and all that we have gone through these past 5 months so I thought I would share them.

1. God answers prayers. Yes he does listen. I know this because I do not think I would be able to be writing this without Him. Laura said that she would not have changed a thing over the past few months because she has gotten closer to God. Wow...those are powerful words. I read her blog every day and it gives me strength. I think that God works in mysterious ways and that he put us in this church so that Laura can help me. She is such a beacon of strength that her daily blog posts have helped me get through the day.

2. Be Ready. This was a comment that I for sure was not prepared for. Are you ever ready to loose your child? It puts everything into perspective. This tragedy has show me that my relationship with God was not ready, actually more like disarray. I learned that one of the most important parts of my life was not stable but my relationship with God has improved. I am still working on it daily, but it is better. I know he is there guiding my life. I am the passenger and God is in the driver seat.

3. Follow Me. 2 little words with such a huge meaning. This is a part of my 2010 goals. Let God lead the dance.

A few quotes of Hope that have kept me going. That was a theme of our baby girl's funeral and I am putting it into every day of my life in 2010.

Sara Paddison, The Hidden Power of the Heart
When the heart is enlivened again, it feels like the sun coming out after a week of rainy days. There is hope in the heart that chases the clouds away. Hope is a higher heart frequency and as you begin to reconnect with your heart, hope is waiting to show you new possibilities and arrest the downward spiral of grief and loneliness. It becomes a matter of how soon you want the sun to shine. Listening to the still, small voice in your heart will make hope into a reality.

Once you choose hope, anything's possible. ~Christopher Reeve
When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
~Author Unknown

When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you're slamming the door in the face of God. ~Charles L. Allen