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A potential biological cause for sudden infant death syndrome

At birth, babies must adjust from being totally dependent on their mother to breathing on their own and maintaining their own blood pressure. If the brainstem serotonin system is defective or still immature, this transition to total independence in the control of vital functions may be impaired during the crucial first six months of life.

"We think that the control systems for vital or homeostatic functions reach full maturity only towards the end of the first year of life," Kinney says.

The researchers note that despite the national Back to Sleep campaign, which urges caregivers to put babies to bed on their backs, 65 percent of the SIDS infants in this study were found sleeping on their stomach or side.
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Source:Children's Hospital Boston


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