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Research Uncovers Clue to SIDS
Date:3/3/2011

goes wrong, such as when they stop breathing for a time.

The researchers tested 17 babies at different times during the first six months of life when they slept either on their backs or their stomachs. For safety, the babies were studied in a hospital "and were fully monitored throughout the study with heart rate, breathing and oxygen saturation recorded continuously," Horne said.

The researchers found that the oxygen levels in the brain dipped when they slept on their stomachs. This may explain why babies who sleep on their stomachs are three times harder to arouse from sleep as other babies, Horne said. Previous research has shown that these babies also have lower blood pressure, although specialists have differed about whether that's important.

"What still remains a mystery is why are some infants more vulnerable than others," Horne said. "When in a life-threatening situation, most babies do not die. We are striving to understand all the processes involved so we can identify which infants are most vulnerable."

The findings appear online Feb. 28 in the journal Pediatrics.

More information

For more about SIDS, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Rachel Moon, M.D., pediatrician, Children's National Medical Center, and professor of pediatrics, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and author, "14 Ways to Protect your Baby from SIDS," Washington D.C.; and Rosemary S. C. Horne, Ph.D., associate professor, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, March 2011 Pediatrics


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