Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

New insight into SIDS deaths:

Research at the University of Adelaide has shed new light onto the possible causes of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
By Motherpedia
Date: May 04 2014
Editor Rating:
sleepingbaby

In a world-first study, researchers in Adelaide University's School of Medical Sciences have found that telltale signs in the brains of babies that have died of SIDS are remarkably similar to those of children who died of accidental asphyxiation.

"This is a very important result. It helps to show that asphyxia rather than infection or trauma is more likely to be involved in SIDS deaths," says the leader of the project, Professor Roger Byard AO, Marks Professor of Pathology at the University of Adelaide and Senior Specialist Forensic Pathologist with Forensic Science SA.

The study compared 176 children who died from head trauma, infection, drowning, asphyxia and SIDS.

Researchers were looking at the presence and distribution of a protein called β-amyloid precursor protein (APP) in the brain. This "APP staining", as it's known, could be an important tool for showing how children have died. This is the first time a detailed study of APP has been undertaken in SIDS cases.

"All 48 of the SIDS deaths we looked at showed APP staining in the brain," Professor Byard says.

"The staining by itself does not necessarily tell us the cause of death, but it can help to clarify the mechanism.

"The really interesting point is that the pattern of APP staining in SIDS cases - both the amount and distribution of the staining - was very similar to those in children who had died from asphyxia."

Professor Byard says that in one case, the presence of APP staining in a baby who had died of SIDS led to the identification of a significant sleep breathing problem, or apnoea, in the deceased baby's sibling.

"This raised the possibility of an inherited sleep apnoea problem, and this knowledge could be enough to help save a child's life," Professor Byard says.

"Because of the remarkable similarity in SIDS and asphyxia cases, the question is now: is there an asphyxia-based mechanism of death in SIDS? We don't know the answer to that yet, but it looks very promising."

This study was conducted at the University of Adelaide by visiting postdoctoral researcher Dr Lisbeth Jensen from Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark, and was funded by SIDS and Kids South Australia. The results have been published in the journal Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology.

"This work also fits in very well with collaborative research that is currently being undertaken between the University of Adelaide and Harvard University, on chemical changes in parts of the brain that control breathing," Professor Byard says.

Share This Tweet This Email To Friend
Related Articles
baby-needle
Whooping cough vaccine protects infants and young children but booster…
Read more
paul-and-stella-baby-prize
Baby products made with love for the new arrival.
Read more
philips_dect_monitor
In our latest product review, we take a look at…
Read more
newborn_baby_massage
A baby loves to be touched and a great way…
Read more
Motherpedia cover (4)

Where to celebrate Oktoberfest Australia
Get ready for this celebration!

Vtech giveaway motherpedia

Win 1 of 3 VTech Toys Pack Giveaway
Playtime is so much more with VTech

Trolls-giveaway

Win 1-of-3 Trolls Prize Packs Giveaway
Let's get artsy with the Trolls!

Oral health for pregnant women - motherpedia

6 Early and Unusual Things Women Experience During Pregnancy
Are any of these familiar?

Motherpedia cover-4

A Fortnight of Foodie Experiences at East Village
A taste of East Village. What's in it for me?

Globber my too fix up cover

We Try: Globber My TOO Fix Up
A scooter that grows with your child

Throw a winning cricket pitch

3 Steps to a Winning Backyard Cricket Pitch
Ex-Adelaide Oval legend curator Les Burdett shares his tips for getting your backyard cricket pitch test match ready this summer

A bike that follows your kids life cycle - motherpedia - cover

A Bike That Follows Your Kids Life Cycle
Check out the Bunzi 2-in-1 gradual balance bike!

Motherpedia cover (2)

Make a big difference…
This is Australia’s largest tree planting and nature planning event!

Motherpedia cover (1)

Escape Winter and Giddy…
Are you ready for some good music, Australia?

Motherpedia cover (1)

A Summer Night Season…
Moonlight Cinema announces February program

Motherpedia cover

More Than Fundraising
Why Events Like Relay for Life are Important