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SIDS and serotonin-using brain cells

Translation to the Polish language, courtesy of Alice Slaba (March 2015)

(10/31/06)

Dear Friends,

A number of articles hit the news today regarding SIDS and Multiple Serotonergic Brainstem Abnormalities. The news refers to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, November 1, 2006, entitled, "Multiple Serotonergic Brainstem Abnormalities in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome," conducted by David S. Paterson, PhD; Felicia L. Trachtenberg, PhD; Eric G. Thompson, MS; Richard A. Belliveau, BA; Alan H. Beggs, PhD; Ryan Darnall, BA; Amy E. Chadwick, BA; Henry F. Krous, MD; Hannah C. Kinney, MD . The public has been on an information roller coaster, the result of an explosion of media reports. We need to help people separate myth from fact and risk factor from cause. We will post information as it becomes available to us.

Please keep the following in mind:

- This is the latest in a body of research begun in the mid 1980's.

- The study's authors do not claim to have determined the cause of SIDS.

- To conduct the current study, researchers examined tissue from the brainstems of 31 infants who died of SIDS and 10 infants who died of other causes. The tissue was provided by the office of the chief medical examiner in San Diego, California, and was collected from infants who died between 1997 and 2005.

- The study's authors state that the results indicate that the pattern of abnormalities-more serotonin neurons, an apparent reduction of serotonin 1A receptors, and insufficient serotonin transporter-suggested that the level of serotonin in the brainstems of the SIDS infants was abnormal. They were also able to count serotonin-using cells, and estimate their prevalence in the brainstem, something that had not been possible previously. In future studies, the researchers plan to examine the role of other serotonin receptor subtypes in both lab animals and in SIDS cases. Moreover, they are also planning to test selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in pregnant lab animals, to see if the drugs have an effect on the fetal animals' developing brainstems in regions that are affected in SIDS infants.

- When it comes to media coverage of SIDS, we often feel a sense of frustration in being confronted with misleading headlines, announcements of so-called breakthroughs and statements taken out of context.

- Please read the article, "Mass Media's" Role in SIDS Education, at <http://sids-network.org/media.htm>.

- You can search MEDLINE for serotonin, SIDS, and  5-HT information.

We are currently gathering more information about this specific research and will keep you updated.

Thanks!

Chuck Mihalko
Executive Manager
SIDS Network

SIDS Infants Show Abnormalities In Brain Area Controlling Breathing, Heart Rate Serotonin-Using Brain Cells Implicated In Abnormalities
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Published Online: 31 Oct 2006
 

Article

November 1, 2006

Multiple Serotonergic Brainstem Abnormalities in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
David S. Paterson, PhD; Felicia L. Trachtenberg, PhD; Eric G. Thompson, MS; Richard A. Belliveau, BA; Alan H. Beggs, PhD; Ryan Darnall, BA; Amy E. Chadwick, BA; Henry F. Krous, MD; Hannah C. Kinney, MD
JAMA. 2006;296:2124-2132.
Abstract

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