Trio of SIDS research projects launched

We are thrilled to have embarked on a trio of SIDS research studies, thanks to the support of our incredible corporate partners and donors.

UniSA SIDS Laboratory

SIDS research is critical in saving the lives of infants across the world.

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1. A 3-year genetic research project specific to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), is scheduled to commence at the University of South Australia (UniSA) in December 2023. 
This project, along with a genetic biobank material development campaign, could hold the key to preventing a sudden and unexpected death of an infant in sleep, potentially saving the lives of hundreds of babies who die from the devastating condition each year. The biobank is the only one of its kind in the Southern hemisphere, and one of only a few that exist in the world!

2. University of Sydney/Sydney Medical School – Support of the publication of three SIDS research papers on the following topics with Prof Rita Machaalani and PhD student, Lauren Luijerink:

A. Correlation between different markers in the SIDS brain- GFAP, microglia, astrocytes.
Aim – Run correlation analyses across all the markers to determine their relationship to each other and within each SUDI case, and whether patterns of expression differ in SIDS compared to controls. These findings will first demonstrate what is happening in the normal developing brain and will subsequently identify any abnormalities in the SIDS brain.

Prof Rita Machaalani

B. Brain vasculature: The brain vasculature supplies the blood to the brain and can be affected by risk factors such as hypoxia and infections. Research observation of many tissue sections over the past decade has led us to believe that the number and location of brain vessels may be indicative of abnormal pathology in SIDS brains.
Aim: Investigate vasculature in all tissue sections processed to date (>800) for the medulla and hippocampus, comparing between SIDS and non-SIDS, as well as in accordance with the presence of major SIDS risk factors, with particular interest to the presence of an upper respiratory tract infection prior to death.

C. Correlation between major markers studied in the laboratory & morphological features.
Aim: Run statistical analyses to determine whether protein expression of the markers in infants with identified bilamination differ to those without this feature, and whether any links with the vasculature from project #2 above are evident.

3. INPAA (Infant Nursery Product Alliance of Australia) is currently leading the development and publication of a guideline outlining the appropriate management of CO2 levels in and around an infant sleep mattress.  The guideline specifies the minimum CO2 rebreathing property for sleep surfaces.  Infants are safer on products that dissipate their exhaled CO2, and don’t allow CO2 to build up in the construct and fabric of the sleep product, where it can be rebreathed by a sleeping infant.
Dr Ron Somers, Epidemiology specialist, is the Project Director leading the research project and subsequent development of the guideline.

Excessive levels of CO2 rebreathing have been proven to put an infant at risk of SIDS.