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Cry Analysis And SIDS

May 20, 1996

Janice Roper asked about Cry Analysis and its ability to predict SIDS: Doctor Michael Corwin at Boston University has published a preliminary report on cries which were recorded in a systematic fashion on about 20,000 babies (I think it was in that range). The cries were recorded near birth, as I recall. Subsequently, a number of those babies died. When comparing spectral analyses of the cry sounds, some GROUP differences were found between SIDS and controls. Again, there was considerable overlap, so that this technique is not a test which might predict whether an individual baby will die from SIDS or not.

The reason why a cry was recorded is that the sound of the cry is determined by the size and shape of the airway, much like a pipe organ. Since the airway size and configuration is partly controlled by parts of the brain which control breathing (brainstem), it is possible that differences in the cry recording might correlate with other brainstem abnormalities or dysfunction.

By the way, since there seems to be so much interest in the CHIME Study on this SIDS-Net, we are recording 2-3 cries on all babies enrolled in the CHIME Study to expand Doctor Corwin's data-base.

I hope this helps. Thank you.

Thomas G. Keens, M.D.
Childrens Hospital Los Angeles

January 20, 2003

Has there been a study of physical conditions of babies who have died from SIDS in regards to being really good babies & not crying very much. My granddaughter hardly ever cries and we know she can hear & make noises but we just say that she is such a good baby because she doesn't cry very much. Even at birth. Just a small cry and she seems to be satisfied all the time. She was born 12/12/02. Basically, is she not exercising her lungs enough to strengthen them. Also, she has heavy breathing.

There have been studies which show that 1) colicky babies have a higher risk of dying from SIDS; and 2) quiet babies have an increased risk for SIDS. Therefore, this variable probably has no effect on the SIDS risk.

Thomas G. Keens, M.D.
Childrens Hospital Los Angeles

January 21, 2003

There are studies done several years ago showing that babies who later died of SIDS did have different infant temperaments compared to other infants. The SIDS infants were quieter or calmer, and were described as better sleepers. These data are of interest related to the greater difficulty to arouse from sleep reported in later SIDS infants. HOWEVER, these temperament and infant behavior responses have a very wide range of normal in infants overall and it is therefore not possible to use any of these observations to tell in advance which infants will die of SIDS. In other words, many infants who are very normal will also fit this same description.

I hope this is helpful.
Dr. Hunt

January 23, 2003

There is one older study that suggests that such babies are at increased risk. Nothing new in the past 10 years or so. Suggest parents follow " safe sleep" guidelines. Have baby checked for chest/lung disorders if breathing remains a concern. If safe sleep methods are used I don't feel that there is much to worry about.

Sincerely,
Brad Thach, MD
Thach@kids.wustl.edu

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