by Dr. Michael Dorausch, www.planetchiropractic.com
Researchers in Boston recently released a study suggesting that babies who die of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, have serious abnormalities in the brain stem region, which controls breathing and heart rate.
The recent findings add greater evidence to the theory that SIDS is caused by biological and/or mechanical differences in the brain, particularly in the brainstem region.
According to medical research, some scientists believe that SIDS babies are born with a genetic defect that keeps them from responding to stressors such as a lack of adequate oxygen while laying face down. Other experts believe that the cause may be mechanical in nature, suggesting that atlanto-occipital instability at the level of the brainstem (the first movable bone in one's neck), creates disturbances that affects breathing rate, and respiratory reflexes.
Many doctors and experts advise that all babies be put to sleep on their backs rather than on their stomachs in order to prevent crib death.
This most recent study was based on the autopsies of 31 SIDS victims, with about three quarters showing serotonin abnormalities in the brain stem. Serotonin, is best known for its role in mood elevation, but it serves many functions in the brain. In the brainstem, at the level of Occiput-Atlas (the base of ones skull), serotonin helps regulate breathing and other automatic bodily functions.
This was an important study in determining the role of brainstem function and SIDS. Most researchers agree that SIDS is likely to be a complex disorder with many possible factors linked to causation.
THE CHIROPRACTIC PERSPECTIVE
Unfortunately, medical science will likely look to treat any found underlying abnormalities with drugs. On the contrary, chiropractic research experts will continue to suggest all newborns be checked by a qualified chiropractor for atlanto-occipital hypermobility or instability.
Chiropractic and SIDS related articles, research and references:
The Chiropractic Journal -- Subluxation and sudden infant death syndrome
StopSIDS -- SIDS & The Spine: An Annotated Research List
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