Heartbroken families share stories of their babies

Families affected by the tragic condition known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) have spoken out about their experiences after a new study suggested scientists are close to identifying a cause.

SIDS is the sudden, unexplained death of a baby under one year of age who has no apparent cause. The disorder is sometimes called “crib death” or “crib death” as it is associated with the time the baby is sleeping.

SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies aged between one month and one year, with the vast majority of deaths occurring before a baby reaches six months of age, according to the National Institute of Health states. Each year, there are about 3,400 cases of sudden unexpected infant deaths in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a classification that includes SIDS.

Holding baby's hand
One photo shows an adult holding a child’s hand. Scientists have reported a step towards identifying a cause for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
hallohuahua/getty

By definition, the cause of SIDS is unknown. The condition can be painful for bereaved parents who are left unanswered.

Some evidence has suggested that babies who die from SIDS had a brain condition that affects nerve cells that can control vital functions like breathing and heart rate, but other possible factors have also been identified.

Scientists have now identified a chemical known as Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), whose activity they found to be significantly lower in babies who died from SIDS compared to live babies or those who died from conditions other than SIDS.

The finding could mean doctors will be able to identify babies at risk for SIDS before death and open up new research into prevention.

The study proved extremely popular on Twitter, where it was hailed as a major scientific breakthrough. a tweet describing the survey gained over 60,000 likes and over 1,000 comments on Friday.

The news prompted several Twitter users to speak out about their own experiences of losing loved ones or their own children to SIDS.

kathykiiscool wrote that she lost her first child at 38 weeks in what doctors said was SIDS in utero, adding that “the technician cried while doing the ultrasound”.

“Even though my SIDS happened in 1991, the emotion and pain are still there,” she said. newsweek.

She said she “never got answers” when she lost her baby to SIDS when she was just 19.

Getvalentined wrote that his mother lost a little sister to SIDS over 50 years ago and that his family “never recovered”. She said newsweek: “The advance will certainly help save a lot of babies – but I don’t think people realize how many families it will save either.”

The new SIDS study, titled “Butyrylcholinesterase is a potential biomarker for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome”, has been published in the journal eBioMedicine on May 6th.

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