A marker that could help identify babies at a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) has been discovered by Sydney researchers.
The study conducted by The Children's Hospital Westmead confirmed what had long been suspected — that SIDS victims were unable to wake themselves up — but it went one step further by providing the why.
The enzyme butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) plays a major role in the "brain's arousal pathway" and was found at "significantly lower" levels in babies who die of SIDS.
[...] "Usually, if a baby is confronted with a life-threatening situation, such as difficulty breathing during sleep because they're on their tummies, they will arouse and cry out.
"What this research shows is that some babies don't have this same robust arousal response.