Renowned Researcher Dr. Hannah Kinney Uncovers the Cause of SIDS


The e-mail came in to me about four hours ago from my dear friends at First Candle –  They wanted me, as someone who is a close friend to the organization, to have the news first, the likely cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has been discovered.  Researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston have linked low serotonin levels in the brainstems of babies to SIDS. In the brainstem, serotonin helps regulate some of the body’s involuntary actions, such as breathing, heart rate and blood pressure during sleep. Researchers, led by Children’s neuropathologist Hannah Kinney, MD, believe that a low serotonin level impairs the function of the brainstem circuits that regulate these activities, putting a baby at risk for sudden death from stresses such as rebreathing carbon dioxide when sleeping in the face down position.  The future goal of this work is to devise a test to identify infants with a serotonin brainstem defect early, and to develop preventive treatments that would correct the serotonin deficiency.

As many of you know, my first son Connor, my little angel, died of SIDS in 1997.  I have always hoped that I would see a day where researchers finally found an answer.  It’s a tragic occurrence that leaves parents devastated and confused.  You so want an answer as to what happened.  Now, I finally have some sort of answer.  And, while it doesn’t bring Connor back, at least it’s no longer as mysterious.

I’m so grateful to everyone at First Candle for supporting this research and making it possible to hopefully one day eradicate this tragedy.  And a special thank you to Dr. Kinney.  Her unwavering determination to finding the answer to SIDS is commendable.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Kinney before and she is a truly remarkable woman.  Thank you Dr. Kinney.

Alison Rhodes, The Safety Mom!
Safety Mom Solutions Baby Proofing Services
New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Alison Rhodes is the founder of Safety Mom Enterprises and Safety Mom Solutions Babyproofing services, the premier baby proofing and child safety company in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area.  Alison is a family safety expert, TV personality and consultant.


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