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Wednesday, November 1st 2006

We Know Who The Culprit Is…

…And Knowing Is Half The Battle

SIDS may be contributed to by an abnormal number of serotonin receptors in a baby’s medulla.

Kinney has previously recorded low numbers of serotonin receptors in around a half of SIDS babies. And studies in mice have shown that “pacemaker” cells in the medulla – which prompt gasping and recovery – do not fire when serotonin is taken away.

“It might be that a defect in the medulla’s serotonin system is inhibiting a baby’s ability to gasp,” says Paterson. Only further tests will establish whether pacemaker cells are simply not responding to serotonin, or whether the ability of neurons to release it is turned off, he says.