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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: How Research is Keeping Babies Safe

Hannah Kinney
September 7, 2011

Dr. Hannah Kinney of Harvard Medical School presents to the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: How Research is Keeping Babies Safe.

Virtually all parents have placed a hand on their sleeping baby at one time or another to see if he or she is still breathing—in fear that the baby may die suddenly and inexplicably during sleep, in fear of what we call sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. SIDS is the leading cause of postneonatal infant mortality in the United States today. Approximately six SIDS deaths occur each day.

Dr. Kinney is a leading researcher studying the underlining causes of SIDS. Watch as she describes her research. She posits that the idea that SIDS, or a subset of SIDS, is due to a developmental brainstem defect in autonomic and/or respiratory control during sleep. The ultimate goals of the research are to define brainstem abnormalities in living infants and to suggest ways of preventing the abnormalities from leading to sudden infant death.