, Volume 117, Issue 3, pp 247-255
Date: 10 Feb 2009

Neuropathology provides new insight in the pathogenesis of the sudden infant death syndrome

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Introduction

The sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is defined as the sudden, sleep-related death of an infant less than 12 months of age that remains unexplained after a complete autopsy, death scene investigation, and review of the clinical history [35]. Typically, a seemingly healthy infant is unexpectedly found dead after a sleep period. Despite a dramatic reduction in the overall rate with national campaigns advocating the supine (back) sleep position [43], SIDS remains the leading cause of postneonatal infant mortality and the third leading cause of infant mortality in general in the United States today [43]. The brain has long been thought to play a critical role in the cause and pathogenesis of SIDS. The recent publication of three excellent articles on brain pathology in SIDS in Acta Neuropathologica indicates that brain research into this major pediatric disorder continues to be important in guiding all SIDS research. Basically, brain research in SIDS follows three directions ...