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New genetic link to cot death identified

S could conceivably result in poor fetal lung development.

"This research greatly advances our understanding of the basic causes of SIDS, which is not a single disease but a collection of different causes of death," said Dr Drucker, who carried out the work in collaboration with paediatric pathologist Dr Anthony Barson.

"Being able to detect high-risk babies means that health care and social provision can be aimed at the most vulnerable infants. In theory, commercially available and licensed human immune serum could be given to those children most at risk."

Dr Drucker, whose previous work has also explained why smoking and sleeping position are also risk factors in SIDS, says this latest research will help establish the cause of death in certain cases.

"Forensic scientists would be able to assess the likelihood of a baby dying from SIDS through genetic measurements and so help prevent the sort of tragic miscarriages of justice that have happened in the past.

"But ultimately, this research will improve our ability to identify in advance which babies will be at risk of SIDS so their mothers can be personally advised to eliminate other risk factors such as dangerous sleeping position for their infant."


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Contact: Aeron Haworth
aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk
44-077-178-81563
University of Manchester
24-Aug-2006


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