Major medical breakthrough as doctors FINALLY discover possible cause of sudden and unexplained toddler deaths

Video footage of babies in their cots could hold the key to uncovering the causes of sudden and unexplained infant deaths.

New York University researchers have identified brief seizures accompanied by muscle spasms as a potential cause of sudden death in toddlers.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, looked at cases of sudden unexplained death in childhood (SUDC) and analyzed medical records and videos of sleeping babies provided by families.

The videos revealed children who had seizures lasting less than 60 seconds and occurring within 30 minutes of their death.

SUDC is a category of death in children aged 12 to 18 months that remains unexplained after a thorough investigation, including an autopsy. A coroner can rule on the death of a SUDC child after completing an investigation and finding no other cause of death.

The above shows the top ten causes of infant death and whether they increased or decreased in 2022 (light blue) compared to 2021 (dark blue)

With SUDC, the child most often falls asleep and never wakes up. There is no known cause or prevention.

Due to different methods of investigation and the way deaths are confirmed, it is not known how often the condition occurs, but statistics show that approximately 2,900 children under the age of four die each year in the US from unknown causes.

NYU researchers estimate that there are 400 cases of SUDC in the U.S. each year, most of which occur during sleep, and about half of the deaths occur in children between the ages of one and three.

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For this study, researchers in New York followed 300 cases of SUDC where there was no definitive cause of death.

They identified seven cases containing home video of the child’s last sleep before his death. Each video was scored by eight clinicians for motion and sound.

Videos reviewed by the team included videos from security systems or commercial crib cameras.

The team observed babies in convulsions for between 8 and 50 seconds.

Five of the toddlers died shortly after the movements, which forensic pathologists, a seizure specialist and a sleep specialist considered to be brief seizures.

Researchers also believe that the sixth child who died of SUDC also had a seizure.

The team did not investigate possible causes of seizures, but seizures—a sudden, uncontrolled burst of electrical activity in the brain—can be triggered by head injury, lack of sleep, brain infections such as meningitis, brain tumor, drastic changes in the blood. sugar, genetics and high fever.

Lead researcher Laura Gould, whose own daughter died of SUDC at the age of 15 months, said: «Our study, although small, offers the first direct evidence that seizures may be responsible for some sudden deaths in children who are normally awake during sleep. witnesses. ‘

Lead study researcher and neurologist Orrin Devinsky added, «These study findings show that seizures are much more common than patients’ medical histories suggest, and that more research is needed to determine whether seizures are a common occurrence in sleep-related deaths in toddlers and potentially in infants, older children and adults.»

SUDC is similar to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby between the ages of one month and one year.

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Even after a complete investigation, doctors are unable to determine the cause of death.

As with SUDC, there is no known cause of SIDS. However, there are known risk factors and there are ways to reduce your child’s chance of dying from the condition.

The Cleveland Clinic reports that 90 percent of infants who die of SIDS are under six months of age, and most babies appear to die in their sleep between midnight and 6 a.m.

The clinic estimates that approximately 2,500 infants die from SIDS each year in the U.S., making it the leading cause of SIDS in infants between one and 12 months of age.

Almost all SIDS and SUDC deaths happen without any warning or symptoms.

However, scientists have studied the possible causes of SIDS and widely agree on the theory that babies who die of SIDS have an underlying vulnerability, such as a genetic pattern or brain abnormality, that when exposed to triggers during the early stages of immune and brain development. will cause sudden death.

NYU researchers estimate that there are 400 cases of SUDC per year in the US, most of which occur during sleep, and about half of the deaths occur in children between the ages of one and three (photo).

Risk factors for SIDS include maternal smoking, drinking, or drug use during pregnancy, preterm birth, teenage pregnancy, low birth weight, overheating, unsafe sleep environment, and male assignment at birth.

There is no scientific evidence that vaccines cause SIDS.

SIDS prevention measures include not sharing a bed with the baby, removing loose bedding from the baby’s sleep environment, placing the baby on its back, maintaining a cool sleep environment and using a safe crib.

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SIDS cases outnumber SUDC cases by a ratio of four to one, but SIDS is much more researched than SUDC and receives about 20 times more funding.

A previous study from NYU in 2021 identified the first genetic risk factor for SUDC and found that changes in specific genes that regulate calcium function may contribute to death.

Calcium is important for the function of brain cells and heart muscle. If calcium is not working properly in the body, it can cause abnormal heart rhythms or seizures, both of which increase the risk of sudden death.

Dr. Devinsky of the latest study called convulsive seizures a possible «smoking gun that medical science has been looking for to understand why these children are dying.»

He added: «Studying this phenomenon can also provide critical insight into many other deaths, including those from SIDS and epilepsy.»

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