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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Sids Research

The age of its victims offers an important clue towards better understanding SIDS. Almost all sudden deaths occur between one week and six months of age, a time of rapid growth and change in a baby. Neurological control of the baby's circulatory and respiratory systems is still evolving. Some scientists theorize that very subtle flaws in the baby's physical development are responsible for SIDS. Instead of breathing evenly, young babies tend to stop breathing for a few seconds and then begin again with a gasp. According to one theory, babies who die of SIDS have difficulty re-starting their breathing. Much more needs to be known about the normal respiratory processes and sleep patterns of babies in order to detect abnormalities.

Another clue may lie in the observation that many SIDS victims have a cold in the weeks before death. SIDS deaths are more common in the winter, a season when colds are frequent. This suggests that an upper respiratory infection might somehow trigger a series of events that leads to sudden death. Some researchers believe that no one factor is responsible for SIDS but that a number of events must come together to cause the syndrome.

Additional topics

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