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Male Susceptibility to SIDS

February 4, 1997

I would like to respond to the question of male susceptibility:

As a neonatologist, I care for mostly infants and children under 1 year old. We have known for many years that male babies do worse that females in just about every respect. More males suffer from immature lung disease, respond less favorably to maternal steroids (to mature the preterm infant's lungs), have a greater mortality, more congenital defects (in general) etc. {This is also independent of any exposure to a vaccine.} This higher rate carries over into overall infant mortality as well as SIDS. Significantly more male infants die than female infants in the first year of life. We don't know why male infants are more susceptible. We know they remain vulnerable at least up to the first year.

I hope this helps,

JDDeCristofaro, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Medical Director, Infant Apnea Program
UMC Stony Brook, NY

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