Orexin: A Breakthrough in SIDS Research
A breakthrough has been made in SIDS research in Australia’s Sydney’s Westmead Children’s Hospital this month. Researchers noticed a correlation between a lack of brain protein that regulates sleep arousal, and infants who die of SIDS. What is interesting is that this is the same protein that is associated with sleep apnea (a condition causing pauses in breathing during sleep) in adults, called Orexin.
Much of SIDS research has focused on the theory that some infants are born without an effective arousal for waking (see here to find out more about other theories). This research takes these theories to the next level by identifying the exact protein, Orexin, that could be the root of the problem.
For decades there have been improvements in SIDS awareness and research resulting in a decrease of the occurrence of SIDS. But scientists still have a long way to go. With the surfacing of this theory, scientists will need to turn to research on how to identify the ideal levels of Orexin, and how to trigger the brain to produce more of it, if possible.
Orexin levels seem to be a major player in both Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and sleep apnea in adults. Further research is needed to identify its exact role in both of these health conditions, but we are optimistic about its discovery and look forward to finding out more.
See the original article here.