Sudden infant death syndrome causes

The actual cause of SIDS remains unknown.  A variety of mechanisms are controversial. There are over two hundred theories.  A possible multi-factorial appears with a combination of external factors (such as an infection) and internal factors.

Abnormal blood flow

In a 2001 study published by ultrasound in healthy children there were suggestions that a reduction of blood supply to the brain stem is a cause of sudden infant death syndrome.  14,300 babies with ultrasound measurements performed in various lying positions and the blood vessel from the spine to the brain was examined.
Disturbances of serotonin homeostasis
In studies of brains of suddenly deceased infants, morphological and biochemical abnormalities in serotonin-producing nerve cells were found the raphe nuclei.  Experiments with transgenic mice, was where a certain serotonin receptor (5-HT1A) was over expressed this receptor often occurred in sporadic bradycardia and hypothermia.

This regulation of the autonomic nervous system often led to death of these animals, so that disruption of the serotonin homeostasis is discussed as a possible cause of sudden infant death syndrome.
A cause of sudden infant death is the pathogen Clostridium botulinum for example, in contaminated honey.  C botulinum is a crippling poison which causes the symptoms of botulism.  According to this theory the dose, which is present in honey, is completely harmless for adults.

However, the intestinal flora in an infant is not yet mature, and offers the bacteria an environment for growth and toxin formation.  The toxin enters the bloodstream, and an effect is respiratory paralysis.  In fact, it could be detected in 211 cot death deceased children in a series of autopsy cases of C. botulinum at 4.3%.   A German research group succeeded in the detection of botulinum toxin in 9 of 75 autopsy cases (including 57 who died of sudden infant death syndrome).

Toxic gases
At the end of the 19th century Bartolomeo Gosio was running an investigation of sudden infant death syndrome and discovered that the arsenic fungi in the decomposition of wallpaper.  He discovered the colours contained arsenic, a life-threatening gas release, identified in 1932 by Frederick Challenger as trimethylarsine.

In 1990 A. Richardson published that he could demonstrate the fungus Arsenic being present also in all the mattresses of 45 deceased babies.  Affected were sleeping places where heat and humidity favoured the fungal development.   He suspected the fungus in the mattress, flame retardants, plasticizers and toxic gases could SIDS.

The English Department of Health in 1994 appointed a group of experts to disprove the agent and wrote in her report (Limerick Report) of May 1998 the mistakes Richardson made.

Even Warnock could not demonstrate in 1995 the fungus.  Richardson in June 1998, gave a comprehensive opinion on the Limerick report, in which he stated inter alia that: – unlike in the Limerick Report – the experiments were not performed to their specifications.

This opinion was not forwarded to the research team and otherwise ignored.   Since publication of the Limerick-reports, therefore, the theory of toxic gases is also at international level, refuted.  It was in 2002 that a Scottish study changed anything that suggested an association between used mattresses and sudden infant death syndrome.
Vaccination
A possible association of sudden infant death with vaccinations, especially the sixfold vaccination were discussed. Following the introduction of vaccines sixfold in autumn 2000 in Europe, five children had died within 24 hours of vaccination suddenly and unexplained.

Until that time in Europe there were about 3 million children vaccinated.  The incidents were investigated both by the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute and by the scientific committee of the European Medicines Agency.  A causal relationship between vaccination and the death of the children had not been substantiated.

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