Throughout my research on SIDS this week, I came across an article on a Seattle Doctor, Daniel Rubens. Rubens is an anesthesiologist at Seattle Children’s and he believes that after 10 years of research, he is close to finding the cause of SIDS.
Interestingly, Rubens, hypothesizes that the root cause of SIDS is an inner ear issue. His research points to the idea that SIDS could be related to an undetected, inner-ear dysfunction that makes it difficult for a baby to automatically wake or re-position itself when it is having trouble breathing. He suggests that because of this, they don’t have the natural alert system that tells them to move and access the fresh air they need, so they just stop breathing. They suffocate.
Studies have 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. Additionally, postmortem review of babies who died from SIDS found that all had bleeding and extensive damage in their inner ear
Ruben, who heads the SIDS Research Guild, wants to complete more research, resulting in a hearing test performed on babies within 48 hours of birth. The intent would be that the screening would detect the specific hearing dysfunction that puts babies at risk for SIDS and thus be able to refer those children to more through clinical trials to avoid the tragedy.