In yesterday’s Boston Globe, Carey Goldberg reported on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) research findings from Children’s Hospital Boston. The autopsy-based research report (published in the Journal of the American Medical Association) suggests that most of the 31 infants examined showed abnormalities in brain cells involved with serotonin (a neurotransmitter implicated in the regulation of mood states). These findings align with existing theories suggesting a biological basis for SIDS; the authors propose that infants who die from SIDS may lack an “alarm system” that normally would make them turn their heads or gasp in response to elevated carbon dioxide levels.
These findings add support to the “Back to Sleep” campaign advocating that parents put infants to sleep on their backs. For more information on SIDS, check out the National SIDS/Infant Death Resource Center (available in English and Español), and the American SIDS Institute. Both sites provide information on regional SIDS chapters.