Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Solving the SIDs Mystery

I read this excellent article http://www.usnews.com/usnews/health/articles/061105/13sids.htm in this week's issue of US News and World Report. Its been about 2 years since I've heard or read of any new info on SIDs (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). I attended an excellent SIDs symposium here in my city in 2004 that included input from all the players, from docs, to social workers, to psychiatrists, to police detectives, and district attorneys and medical coroners, to community outreach workers. SIDs was examined from every angle, they even showed case studies of how SIDs investigations are carried out. I learned so much from that community symposium. I discuss what I learned, regularly in my pediatric CPR and first aid courses with students, (mostly nannies and childcare workers). I encourage you to read it, its not so very long, the jist of it is that new evidence points to SIDs being a disease caused by an abnormality in the brain. If this is so, a screening test could be developed to determine which babies are at risk, at birth. I remember my hermitess friend, Sr. Morningstar telling me once, (while she was taking a CPR class from me) that putting babies on their backs was *counter-intuitive.* While I agreed, I also couldn't discount the research that showed the dramatic drop in SIDs deaths since the practice has been implemented. I thought of Morningstar as I read the article. If effective screenings were created, then identified "at risk" babies could be put "back to sleep" while perhaps those not at risk could go back to sleeping on their bellies. I'm also excited by this research in that proving SIDs is a disease will not only give us tools for prevention, but will provide an answer to all those suffering parents who have lived through the experience of SIDs and ask themselves, "Why?" I'm sending my prayers to all those researchers, even as Josiah naps (on his back, of course) while I write.

1 comment:

amelia said...

My very first childbirth student (I teach Bradley classes) was pregnant with twins and one of the twins died from SIDS last month (The twins were 3 months old). It was totally devastating to her and her family and one of the saddest funerals I have ever been to. She is a young mom in her early 20's and has a 2 year old too. I recently had read some information about SIDS possible cause being an abnormality in the brain and was very interested about that. I can't even begin to imagine the grief she will go through throughout her lifetime. As a mom--I keep thinking about how whenever the other twin reaches one of those milestones it will be bittersweet--glad that her daughter made that milestone and sad that the other one isn't there accomplishing those same things.
I am encouraged about the possible screenings in the future and that it will give those parents peace of mind. Perhaps they will know to invest in a special baby monitor that analyzes the baby's breathing pattern while he sleeps.
I started out with my babies on their backs but eventually switched to tummy sleeping when they had better head control because they slept so much better.