New research suggests why some children die of AIDS

Researchers in Australia have found that some children at risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or AIDS have low levels of an enzyme called butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) in their blood. Their study, published in the May 6 issue of the journal eBioMedicine:may pave the way for neonatal screening and interventions if the results are confirmed by further research.

“This is the first time we have ever had a potential biomarker of SIDS,” said Dr. Carmel Harrington, who led the study at Westmid Children’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia.

Researchers have been trying for decades to unravel the biological basis of the puzzling syndrome. And while public health campaigns have drastically reduced the incidence of SIDS, it remains the leading cause of sudden, sudden death in infants under one year of age in Western countries. About 3,400 children die suddenly in the United States each year. Disease Control և Prevention Centers. This includes babies who die suddenly from a known cause, such as suffocation, as well as those who die for no apparent reason, such as SIDS. In the United States, nearly half of all SUID deaths are due to SIDS.

One of the reasons SIDS remains so tragic and mysterious is that it is probably due not to one biological mechanism but to another. combination of factors which combine in a perfect storm, says Dr. Thomas Keynes, a pediatric pulmonologist at Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. Previous research has shown that low activity or damage to parts of a child’s brain can include, for example, heart rate, shortness of breath, and sleep disturbances, as well as environmental stressors such as soft bedding or passive smoking.

“Researchers believe that some children die of AIDS because they do not wake up in response to a dangerous situation when they are asleep,” said Dr. Keynes.

To test whether anything significantly different in infants with SIDS, Dr. Harrington և and colleagues compared 655 healthy infants, 26 infants who died of SIDS, և 41 infants’s heel puncture test, and dried blood samples. They found that about nine of the ten infants who died of SIDS had significantly lower levels of BChE than children in the other two groups.

“I was just amazed,” said Dr. Harrington, who was looking for clues crowdfunding for his research about 30 years after she lost one of her children to SIDS. “The parents of AIDS babies are very guilty because, in fact, their baby died on them. But what we found out in this study is that these babies are different from birth, the difference is hidden, no one knew about it until now. So it’s not the parents’ fault. ”

New findings support researchers’ hypothesis that children who have died of AIDS have problems with irritability, says Dr. Richard Goldstein, a child palliative care specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital. BChE plays a role in the access of potential neurotransmitters to the pathway of brain stimulation. Low levels of the enzyme may indicate that the brain is unable to send signals to the child that prompt the child to wake up, turn his head, or breathe. “But we need a lot more research to understand its true significance,” said Dr. Goldstein.

Although research reveals a possible chemical marker in a small group of newborns, it is too early to say whether a comprehensive BChE test will be helpful.

For example, scientists and doctors do not know what the “normal” level of the enzyme is. And because Australian researchers did not have access to fresh blood samples for BChE, they did not measure the absolute level of the enzyme. There was also a coincidence between the newborns. Some of the children who died of SIDS had BChE levels in the same range as those who did not die.

“If you are going to test every newborn baby, you want the results to be abnormal only for babies who are at very high risk,” said Dr. Keynes. Even if further studies helped refine the BChE test to accurately differentiate between children who could die of AIDS and those who could continue to live a healthy life, doctors and parents would still be faced with the dilemma of what to do next. There is currently no intervention or treatment for low BChE levels.

Most of the advice for preventing AIDS remains the same, said Dr. Keynes. Make sure you’re behind! Safe sleep suggestions like putting a baby to sleep on its back, “at bedtime” at night. Remove loose sheets, blankets, pillows, bumper pads, and soft toys from your baby’s sleeping area. And consider keeping your baby in the same room overnight for at least six months, or ideally until your baby is one year old.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, too advises Avoiding the effects of smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs during pregnancy. breastfeeding; regular vaccination; և Use a pacifier to reduce the risk of SIDS.

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