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SIDS trigger? It's too darn hot

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11:53am, April 28, 2004

From Washington, D.C., at the Experimental Biology 2004 meeting

Infants occasionally stop breathing for short periods during sleep, a phenomenon called apnea. Working with newborn pigs, researchers from Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H., have found that overheating—even to a degree that could occur in a swaddled baby in a warm room—dramatically prolongs apnea.

The result suggests one explanation for some instances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), says team leader Aidan Curran, a respiratory physiologist at Ross University School of Medicine in Roseau, Dominica, an island in the West Indies. SIDS occurs most commonly during winter months when parents are most likely to fuss over keeping their babies warm.

The study was spurred by epidemiological data indicating that the core body temperature of some SIDS babies is higher than normal "even several hours after death," Curran notes.

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