New research has shown that SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) may be caused by an imbalance in serotonin.
Conducted by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, tests were done on mice and has shown that this may be a clue into understanding SIDS. There are about 2,500 cases of SIDS reported each year in the U.S. The majority of deaths occur in infants between 2 and 4 months old.
Serotonin is a chemical mainly known to balance one’s moods, a person’s disposition, body temperature, breathing, sexuality, appetite and heart rate. The new study has indicated that serotonin may give researchers clues into the cause of SIDS.
Engineered mice with very low serotonin levels were used in the study and it was found that the changes in the brain could cause death.
Over half of the mice used in the study died suddenly before reaching 3 months old. Before their death, many experienced their heart rate and body temperature dropping.
Researchers caution that the exact defects in mice are not the same as those in babies, but the heart and temperature problems in the mice were similar to problems found in babies that were observed.
While this isn’t the first study linking serotonin to SIDS, this shows that researchers are at least headed in the right direction in finding the cause. Researchers hope that one day they will be able to detect babies that are at risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.