The first evidence of a biological explanation for newborns dying suddenly in their sleep may have been found by a group of researchers investigating the brain. Researchers at the Royal Alexandra hospital for children at Westmead say they have discovered babies who die from sudden infant death syndrome (Sids) have greatly decreased levels of a certain brain protein-like neuropeptide, known as orexin, responsible for regulating sleep arousal. It is hoped the research could eventually lead to babies being screened for low levels of orexin. Such a test would not be available for at least another decade, however, and parents still need to follow the Sids prevention guidelines, experts caution. There are many well known and evidence-based environmental risk factors related to Sids, such as smoking, excessive bedding and stomach sleeping.
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