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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or crib death is a syndrome marked by the sudden death of an infant that is unexpected by history and remains unexplained after a thorough forensic autopsy and a detailed death scene investigation.
Typically the infant is found dead after having been put to bed, and exhibits no signs of having suffered.
SIDS is a diagnosis of exclusion. It should only be applied to an infant whose death is sudden and unexpected and remains unexplained after the performance of an adequatepostmortem investigation including:
Australia and New Zealand are shifting to the term Sudden Unexplained Death in Infancy (SUDI) for professional, scientific and coronial clarity.
The term SUDI is now often used instead of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) because some coroners prefer to use the term ‘undetermined’ for a death previously considered to be SIDS. This change is causing diagnostic shift in the mortality data.
be a strong function of the infant’s sex, age and ethnicity, and the education and socio-economic-status of the infant’s parents.
According to a study published on November 1, 2006 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, babies who die of SIDS have abnormalities in the brain stem (themedulla oblongata), which helps control functions like breathing, blood pressure and arousal, and abnormalities in serotonin signaling. According to the National Institutes of Health, which funded the study, this finding is the strongest evidence to date those structural differences in a specific part of the brain may contribute to the risk of SIDS.
In a British study released May 29, 2008 researchers discovered that the common bacterial infections Staphylococcus aureus (staph) and Escherichia coli (E. coli) appear to be a risk factor in some cases of SIDS. Both bacteria were present at greater than usual concentrations in infants who died from SIDS. SIDS cases peak between eight and ten weeks after birth, which is also the time frame in which the antibodies that were passed along from mother to child are starting to disappear and babies have not yet made their own antibodies.
Listed below are several risk factors associated with increased probability of the syndrome based on information available prior to this recent study.
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