Daniel Rubens, an anesthesiologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital may be one step closer to discovering the cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The syndrome, causing seemingly healthy babies to mysteriously die in their sleep, has 4,000 victims in the US annually.
Dr. Rubens has a hypothesis that babies who become victims of SIDS have an undiagnosed inner ear dysfunction making it difficult for them to rouse when they are having trouble breathing, ultimately leading to suffocation.
The research is based on a Rhode Island Department of Health study on infant hearing. That study found that in a test group of 31 babies who died from SIDS, all scored lower across three different sound frequencies in the right ear. Babies without the hearing malfunction survived.
The one post-mortem of four babies who died from SIDS found that all had bleeding and extensive damage in their inner ear. Rubens re-created that condition in lab mice.
“And the animal is at risk of an exact, SIDS-like event,” Rubens said. “The more I look at this, I see it’s correct and we need to see this through.” (source)
To learn more about Dr. Rubens research or to donate, visit SIDS Research Guild.