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article imageLow Serotonin levels cause infant deaths

By Owen Weldon     Feb 3, 2010 in Health
Researchers released reports that found babies with low serotonin levels may be at risk of falling victim to SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome.
On Wednesday a group of researchers released reports that say low Serotonin levels may be the cause of SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome.
Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that helps the brain stem regulate important functions such as breathing, temperature, sleeping, waking and other automatic functions and infants that died of SIDS all had low levels of the chemical, according to the report.
The report may help tell what babies are at risk for SIDS. More than 2,000 babies are killed by SIDS before they reach their first birthday.
Breathing can be hampered due to abnormal levels of serotonin, especially when an infant is sleeping face down and breathes in too much exhaled carbon dioxide.
Dr. Hannah Kinney works at Harvard and Children's Hospital and he says that an infant may not be able to get enough air when the infant is laying down in the face down position and breathing in that position. He said that a baby with a normal brain stem will simply turn their head and wake up while a baby with an abnormal level of serotonin may not be able to respond to the stressor.
David Paterson is the co-author of the report and he says that doctors want to use the findings to screen babies for problems relating to Serotonin and hopefully figure out a way to protect them. However the developments are many years away according to Paterson.
More about Deaths, Infant, Serotonin
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