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of research involves a population based study to assess whether the Newborn hearing screen test can accurately predict the predisposition for SIDS at birth. This project is occurring in the United Kingdom under the leadership of Peter Fleming. The UK hearing study is based upon an important finding that emerged in 2008: A US study demonstrating an altered Newborn hearing test in thirty-one infants who subsequently died of SIDS compared to thirty-one control infants. To our knowledge, this is the first finding of an abnormality in SIDS cases by a currently utilized screening test, well in advance of a fatal event. This observation begs the question - is the hearing difference a marker of predisposition to SIDS? And if so; can the Newborn hearing test be used to identify ‘at risk’ infants at birth? We are currently completing the feasibility phase of this study and are seeking funding for the large-scale project that will follow. The ultimate goal is to devise a risk scoring system for SIDS that would combine a hearing screening exam with a comprehensive risk factor assessment at birth.

of research is assessing whether inner ear damage is present and unique to SIDS cases during autopsy. Marta Cohen is leading this research in Sheffield England. The inner ear is currently not included in the standard autopsy analysis of SIDS cases. Marta plans to include imaging of the inner ear with CAT SCAN and MRI. This research will clarify the mechanism of inner ear injury and lay the groundwork for imaging techniques that could also potentially be applied at birth to increase the accuracy of screening for SIDS.

of research is assessing the role of inner ear dysfunction in the mechanism of SIDS death. We have previously identified in an animal model that inner ear dysfunction (similar to that seen in SIDS cases with a hearing deficit at birth) precipitates suppression of arousal to suffocating gas mixtures. This finding could be directly related to the mechanism of SIDS. We have also identified that currently utilized monitoring techniques are unlikely to detect a pending fatal SIDS like event in time to institute effective resuscitation strategies. Our current animal work is focused on delineating methods that will detect and prevent a lethal event well ahead of time.

Thank you for your interest in SIDS