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posted by janrinok on Tuesday May 10, @05:43PM   Printer-friendly

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.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 10, @08:24PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 10, @08:24PM (#1243917)

    >> nothing changes the fact that we're fragile beings very dependent on our caregivers for several years after birth.

    Darwin survived childhood and went on to become a very productive adult and had many children, none of whom died of SIDS. He was just doing his part to improve the gene pool.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 10, @11:22PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 10, @11:22PM (#1243960)

    Two of his children died in infancy.

    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Wednesday May 11, @01:55AM

      by sjames (2882) on Wednesday May 11, @01:55AM (#1243982) Journal

      As did many others. 19th century medicine and public health weren't nearly what they are today.

      Of course, the U.S. seems determined to return to that era.