Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Essay

805 words - 3 pages

          SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, a leading cause of death in infants under the age of one, has left medical experts unable to clearly define sudden infant death syndrome. After thirty years of research, the medical field has not discovered definite causes for SIDS. Medical experts have suggested many theories that have been studied and debated.

          In the Western world, SIDS is the most common cause of death for infants between two weeks and one year of age, but SIDS also occurs throughout the world. SIDS most commonly happens during sleep, although it can occur anywhere, such as in baby carriages, safety car seats, or even someone’s arms. There are no warning signals and there are no products to prevent SIDS.

Ninety-five percent of SIDS cases happen in infants between two

weeks and four months. The rate of occurrence is higher for boys than girls, with 60% percent in boys and 40% in girls. (American 1) Infants born to teenage mothers and low birth weight are considered high risk factors for SIDS.

          SIDS has been researched throughout the world, with many medical experts debating the studies. Some past theories believed to trigger SIDS were childhood vaccinations, blood disorders, apnea and even parent neglect, but none of these theories were proven true.

In a more recent study, the H Pylori Link to SIDS proposed that

there was "An association between Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Helicobacter Pylori infection." (SIDS Alliance 5) The study asserted that H Pylori, a type of common bacteria associated to ulcers, was lethal when passed through saliva from an infected parent or other care giver by contact such as kissing. Among other reasons, the study was found faulty because the control population was flawed.

          On May 14, 2000, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development funded research announced finding that SIDS infants have an abnormal brain pathway. The affected areas of the brainstem are important to the functions in regulating breathing, heart beat and body temperature and arousal.

"These findings show that SIDS infants have a more global biological deficit than we previously believed---one that may originate early in fetal life," said Dr. Marian Willinger of NICHD’s Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch. (National 4)

In another study at both Harvard and Dartmouth, medical

researchers stated that SIDS babies probably have a defect in the brain neurochemicals that usually operate the protective responses to changes in oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.(IntelliHealth 3)

          Placing an infant to sleep on its back has been a universal prevention for SIDS and may be the largest contributing factor for the...

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