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SIDS May Be Prevented Through Genetics | BabyGaga

At team at the University of South Australia hope to predict the risk of (SIDS) using a new .

The researchers used DNA from twenty-five infants who succumbed to SIDS in South Australia to create the biobank database. According to , the biobank is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and even more impressive, one of the only in the world.

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Biobanks are a form of biorepository, which stores biological materials for research purposes. It can hold samples from humans as well as animals, including genetic material.

As such, the researchers hope that the new and its causes. Specifically, they’ll be able to analyze the DNA of the twenty-five infants who passed from SIDS in order to pinpoint potential genetic causes for the illness.

As such, this may allow researchers to identify babies at greater risk of SIDS and to monitor them in the first year of their life in hopes of preventing it.

The biobank was made possible due to funding from River’s Gift. The organization was founded in 2011 after Karl Waddell and Alex Hamilton lost their 4-month-old son, River, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The charity is dedicated to supporting research into SIDS in order to identify causes and treatment for the syndrome.

On their website, River’s Gift explains that SIDS is one of the leading causes on babies under the age of 1-year old. Since its establishment a decade ago, the foundation has raised over $1.5 million to support research on SIDS.

According to , the exact causes of SIDS are unknown. However, current working theories suggest that it may have to do with a problem in the part of an infant’s brain that controls breathing and sleep. SIDS often affects seemingly healthy babies in their sleep. It can affect any babies under the age of 1, but between 2 to 4 months are most at risk.

Researchers have identified certain factors that appear to put infants more at risk, including:

  • Brain defects
  • Family history
  • Low birth weight
  • Respiratory infection
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Race (research has shown that non-white babies are more susceptible to SIDS)
  • Maternal factors (younger than 20; alcohol, drug, or cigarette exposure; inadequate prenatal care)

Additionally, babies in certain sleep positions may also be at risk, especially if they are sleeping on their stomachs or side. SIDS has also been linked to babies that share a bed, sleep on a soft surface, or become overheated.

Please speak to your healthcare provider for more information on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and what you can to do prevent it.

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