Bereaved families share their baby stories

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

SIDS is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby under one year of age that has no apparent cause. The disorder is sometimes called “crib death” or “crib death” as it is associated with when the baby sleeps.

SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between the ages of one month and one year, with the vast majority of deaths occurring before the baby is six months old, according to the National Institutes of Health. Each year there are about 3,400 cases of sudden and 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
A file photo shows an adult holding a baby’s hand. Scientists have reported a step toward identifying a cause for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
hellohuahua/Getty

By definition, the cause of SIDS is unknown. The condition can be painful for grieving parents who are left without answers.

Some evidence has suggested that babies who die of SIDS had a brain condition that affected nerve cells that could control vital functions such as breathing and heart rate, but other possible factors have also been identified.

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

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

The study has proven extremely popular on Twitter, where it was hailed as a major scientific breakthrough. a tweet describing the investigation had garnered more than 60,000 likes and more than 1,000 comments as of 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 to 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 the pain are still there,” she said. news week.

She said she “never really got any answers” when she lost her baby to SIDS when she was just 19. “I’m thankful that there are people trying to understand what causes SIDS,” she added.

Getvalentined wrote that her mother lost a baby sister to SIDS more than 50 years ago and that her family “never recovered.” She said news week: “The breakthrough will certainly help save many babies, but I don’t think people realize how many families it will save as well.”

The new SIDS study, titled “Butyrylcholinesterase is a potential biomarker for sudden infant death syndrome,” was published in the journal eBioMedicine May 6

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