May 30, 2003
Reported by Shelley Brown
The tragic death of a local 4-month-old earlier this month has many scared tonight. The infant's parents think a vaccination may have led to the child's death and that's causing many other parents in our area to decide not to get their children inoculated.
But as one expert tells KPLC, that's a risky decision. Vaccinations have reduced the number of diseases, outbreaks of diseases and in some cases, unnecessary deaths. "If we don't vaccinate our children and protect them against these vaccine preventable diseases, we'll have more problems," says Dr. B.J. Foch.
Region Five Medical Director Dr. B.J. Foch says children attending day care and school are required to get immunizations, and he says there's a good reason for it. "If there's certain pockets of individuals let's say that aren't vaccinated against measles, and we have an individual from overseas that comes from a country where their immunization rates aren't as good and they've not been vaccinated against measles, they come into that community that child that the parent decided didn't get the measles vaccine, they would be susceptible to receiving measles and then we would possibly have a measles outbreak."
But some parents are worried there might be side effects. Two weeks ago, a Lake Charles area infant died shortly after being inoculated. The parents thought the vaccine caused their baby's death. Doctors say that's highly unlikely. "Generally, the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks," says Foch.
"If it's an infant that was four months of age, the leading cause of death in infants one month to one year of age would be SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome," says Foch. And Foch says studies show vaccinations are not a risk factor for SIDS. The cause of this latest child death has not yet been determined.
The Calcasieu Coroner's Office has completed an autopsy on the infant. Now, they're waiting on toxicology results to come back.
(Try not to laugh at this research!)
Babies' dreams may cause cot death 10:07, Aug 4 2003
By Clarence Fernandez
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or cot death as it is more commonly known, could occur when babies stop breathing because they dream they are back in the womb, an Australian scientist says.
George Christos, who has studied the way the brain processes information, said babies who dream they are back in the womb, where they did not have to breathe because their mothers gave them oxygen through the blood, could stop breathing.
"I'm saying if you make the environment of the sleeping child womblike, it may encourage foetal
dreams, and that may excite it to revisit foetal breathing pathways," Christos, who teaches at Curtin
University of Technology in Perth, told Reuters .
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the leading cause of death in babies less than a year old. Most SIDS deaths occur between two and four months and are more prevalent in boys. Christos, who unveiled his SIDS dreaming theory in a recently published book "Memory and Dreams: the Creative Human Mind", said babies' brains are not fully wired up for dreaming until the age of about two months, so they do not run a risk of SIDS in the first month after birth.
His theory was inspired by sleep research experiments at the psychophysiology laboratory at Stanford
University in which people said they had stopped breathing while dreaming of being underwater. Scientists and doctors are baffled as to what causes SIDS.
More than 8,000 infant deaths were blamed on SIDS over the 22 years to 2000, says the National SIDS Council of Australia, or a rate of 0.54 in every 1,000 live births, similar to that in Britain. In the United States, the figure is 2,500 each year.
Studies have shown SIDS could be linked to a variety of factors, ranging from lying the baby down on its stomach and heart irregularities to tobacco use during pregnancy, or using old mattresses that could harbour toxic bacteria. A campaign to educate people about the benefits of placing babies on their backs has cut the SIDS rate in half. Warren Guntheroth, paediatrics professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle and one of the world's leading SIDS researchers, said
the dreaming theory was attractive but not without problems.
Guntheroth said SIDS strikes babies aged two or three months, when dreams of the womb should be getting weaker and diagnostic tests show some babies may not dream at all until six months. "My concern is that it is difficult to test his hypothesis," he told Reuters in an e-mail message. "On the other hand it is highly original and attractive."
Guntheroth said experiments with baby monkeys showed they stopped breathing when cold wet cloths were placed on their faces, showing some animals had inadequate internal alarm systems and stopped breathing when they thought they could not breathe. He said babies may react the same. "We concluded that, whether a dream started it or not, that infants lack an adequate internal alarm system and prolonged apnea could be fatal," Guntheroth said. Australian SIDS workers said Christos' dreaming theory was one of probably 50 current theories on the cause of SIDS.
JACKSON, Mississippi (CNN) -- Doctors at the University of Mississippi Medical Center are trying to prevent newborn Jasmine Jones from becoming another statistic in the state with the nation's highest infant mortality rate. Delivered after a troubled pregnancy, she faces possible kidney and liver failure.
Keeping Jasmine and many of Mississippi's other sickest and tiniest babies alive is a challenge for doctors in the hospital's intensive care unit.
Of every 1,000 infants born in the state, 11 die within the first year of life, according to federal government figures for 1996.
Officials seek to reduce SIDS deaths among African-Americans
Crib death rates twice those of others
July 19, 2000
Web posted at: 12:40 p.m. EST (1640 GMT)
In 1998, 2,529 babies died of SIDS for a rate of 64 deaths per 100,000 live births. For blacks, the rate was 128 per 100,000 births, for a total of 782 deaths.
Heartbeat defect linked to some sudden infant deaths
June 10, 1998
Web posted at: 10:44 p.m. EDT (0244 GMT)
About one in every 1,000 babies dies from SIDS. The rate dropped about 30 percent during the 1990s after doctors began warning parents to put babies to sleep on their backs, rather than their stomachs.
Volume 105, Number 3
March 2000, pp 650-656
Changing Concepts of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Implications for Infant Sleeping Environment and Sleep Position (RE9946)
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS
Task Force on Infant Sleep Position and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
The occurrence of SIDS is rare during the first month of life, increases to a peak between 2 and 4 months old, and then declines. The following have been consistently identified across studies as independent risk factors for SIDS: prone sleep position, sleeping on a soft surface, maternal smoking during pregnancy, overheating, late or no prenatal care, young maternal age, prematurity and/or low birth weight, and male sex.3-11 Blacks and American Indians have consistently higher rates, 2 to 3 times the national average
Some SIDS Deaths Suspect
CHICAGO, Feb. 5, 2001
"What we really want physicians to understand is that SIDS represents an admission by medical professionals that a thorough and exhaustive search for any other cause of death has occurred."
Dr. Kent Hymel
(AP) The nation's largest group of pediatricians is recommending for the first time that all suspected cases of sudden infant death syndrome be investigated by a child abuse expert because of growing fears that some such deaths are murders. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the government already recommend death-scene investigations and autopsies for all SIDS cases.
But it is virtually impossible "to distinguish at autopsy between SIDS and accidental or deliberate asphyxiation with a soft object," said Dr. Kent Hymel, a member of the academy's child-abuse committee, which wrote the updated guidelines. The new guidelines say that unless the autopsy examiner is a child abuse expert, a pre-autopsy exam should be performed by a specialist.
While cases of parents killing their babies are rare, more thorough investigations would probably reveal that some suspected SIDS cases are murders, Hymel said. The updated guidelines were published in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics. They mostly reaffirm the guidelines issued by the 55,000-member academy in 1999. The changes stem from a few highly publicized cases and a 1997 report from British researchers who documented an alarming number of parents trying to suffocate their babies.
Parents were caught on videotape trying to suffocate 30 out of 39 children hospitalized after unexplained or suspicious accidents at home. The researchers also learned that 11 of the children's siblings had supposedly died of SIDS; parents later admitted to suffocation in eight cases. "Physicians don't want to consider these kinds of acts," Hymel said.
The revision was also prompted by the 1997 book The Death of Innocents, about a New York state woman whose five children supposedly died of SIDS. She ultimately was convicted of smothering them all. More recently, a Philadelphia mother pleaded guilty in 1999 to smothering eight children whose deaths initially were classified as SIDS.
"What we really want physicians to understand is that SIDS represents an admission by medical professionals that a thorough and exhaustive search for any other cause of death has occurred," Hymel said. "What's frightening is that in some cases, that's not happening." The U.S. SIDS rate fell more than 40 percent from 1992 to 1998 - when there were about 2,800 cases - thanks to a national campaign urging parents to put their children to bed on their backs. SIDS has been linked to sleeping on the belly.
Still, SIDS remains the leading cause of death during the first six months of life.
The academy's recommendation has raised objections from members of the National Society of Medical Examiners, who say that having another person examine the body could alter evidence and interfere with the autopsy. Medical examiners receive training that should adequately prepare them to detect child abuse, said Dr. Randy Hanzlick, the society's president and medical examiner foFulton County, Ga.
Dr. Henry Krous, a leading SIDS specialist and pediatric pathologist at Children's Hospital of San Diego, said that in some areas of the country, how a body is moved and treated after death is legally under the medical examiner's jurisdiction. Krous served as a consultant for the new guidelines and said he generally supports them. But he also said they could unfairly create an aura of suspicion over innocent parents already wracked with grief.
"I hope there isn't a general viewing of the public that SIDS is likely murder until proven otherwise," Krous said. "The evidence to the contrary is overwhelming."
©MMI The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Could this be vaxxed on Friday, dead by sunday? 4 months old? 4 months shots?
"The weekend peak was more pronounced among babies aged 4 months or younger. "In the second period, almost 4% more babies in this age group died at weekends than did babies aged 5 months or more. "The reasons for the weekend peak in cot deaths remain unclear, say the authors but speculate that parents may be less attentive to the needs of their infants."
Reference: Mooney J , Helms P and Jolliffe I (2004) Higher incidence of SIDS at weekends, especially in younger infants Arch Dis Child 89 (7) 670-672
Heart Problem May Cause Some SIDS Cases
Researcher: Electrical Problem Related To Adult Condition
POSTED: 10:27 a.m. EST November 19, 2002
An electrical problem in the heart may cause about 5 percent of sudden deaths in infants, according to new research. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., presented their findings Tuesday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Chicago.
The heart condition the researchers found is similar to long Q-T syndrome, a condition that contributes to sudden death in young people and adults. In the syndrome, the heart electrically recharges itself too slowly or in a disorganized fashion in preparation for the next heartbeat, said lead researcher Dr. Michael Ackerman.
When combined with a trigger, such as intense emotion or physical exertion, a long Q-T heart can go out of control and cause cardiac arrest and sudden death, he said. "This often explains cases in which children die suddenly while playing in the sandbox, teenagers die of unexplained drowning, or previously healthy young adults die suddenly while jogging or shoveling snow," Ackerman said.
Cardiac arrest can be fatal within minutes unless the heart's electrical pattern is restored spontaneously or with the aid of a defibrillator, he said. Ackerman said long Q-T syndrome may affect as many as one in 5,000 people. According to U.S. Vital Statistics, about 3,000 infants die each year of sudden infant death syndrom, or SIDS. Several possible causes or triggers have been suggested for SIDS, including babies sleeping on their stomachs, nervous system problems related to breathing, abnormal metabolism in the liver, and flaws in the heart's electrical channels, Ackerman said.
The research team performed an autopsy on every unexplained infant death investigated by the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory between September 1997 and August 1999 -- a total of 93. Researchers extracted DNA from frozen heart tissue and studied the five genes linked to long Q-T syndrome.
They found that 5 percent of SIDS cases had genetic anomalies that were absent in the genes of 200 healthy, racially matched control subjects. "Long Q-T syndrome is sometimes called the perfect killer, because it leaves no clues," Ackerman said. "Neither does SIDS. Our goal is to discover the truth. "SIDS will probably turn out to have 20 different underlying causes. If we can figure out what they are, we can screen for them and hopefully one day, prevent future cases of SIDS."
Ackerman said there is no routine clinical test to screen for such cardiac causes. He said parents should continue to follow simple preventive measures that have decreased the frequency of SIDS:
Don't place a baby on his/her stomach to sleep.
Don't expose a baby to cigarette smoke.
Don't cover a baby with heavy blankets.
More Research From The AHA's Annual Meeting
Is Sudden Infant Death Really Heiner Syndrome?
Heiner syndrome is a food hypersensitivity lung disease that affects infants, and is usually caused by cow's milk protein. This disease is often misdiagnosed in healthy children, and not diagnosed at all during the tragic hours after an infant's death.
This terribly misunderstood disease strikes children between the ages of 6 months and two years, often during the hours after consuming their last bottle of cow's milk or formula. The symptoms of Heiner's Disease are remarkably similar to the vast variety of symptoms attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Sadly, parents often miss the onset of Heiner's which includes ear aches and ear infections, tummy aches, and typical cold symptoms including a runny nose. The child often develops anemia as a result of intestinal bleeding caused by cow's milk hypersensitivity. One sign is dark stools caused by dead red blood cells.
If any of the above symptoms are observed, the cure is a simple one: total immediate elimination of all cow's milk and dairy products.
Dr. Frank Oski (once chief of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Medical School) suggested that fifty percent of children suffer from one or more of these symptoms, and regrettedcthe fact that parents rarely if ever make the connection to milk consumption.
Heiner's Syndrome might very well be the least understood and most misdiagnosed disease in the medical literature. For many infants, the implications can be heartbreaking and catastrophic.
"Hypersensitivity to milk is implicated as a cause of sudden death in infancy."
The Lancet, vol. 2, 7160, November 19, 1960
"Those infants who died of SIDS expressed inappropriate or inflammatory responses suggesting violent allergic reactions to a foreign protein."
The Lancet, vol. 343, June 4, 1994,
"Those who consumed cows milk were fourteen times more likely to die from diarrhea-related complications and four times more likely to die of pneumonia than were breast-fed babies.Intolerance and allergy to cow's milk products is a factor in sudden infant death syndrome."
The Lancet, vol. 344, November 5, 1994
"Formula fed infants developed symptoms of allergic rejection to cow milk proteins before one month of age. The majority of infants tested had two or more symptoms...About 50-70 percentcexperienced rashes or other skin symptoms, 50-60 percent gastrointestinal symptoms, and 20-30 percent respiratory
symptoms. The recommended therapy is to avoid cow's milk."
Pediatr.-Allergy-Immunol., 1994, 5(5 Suppl)