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Deaf babies linked to a higher risk of cot death

This week's Sunday Times carried an article, 'Cot death linked to babies who have suffered hearing damage'. It suggests that cells in the inner ear carry out a second function (as well as hearing), to give the brain a early warning system that oxygen levels are falling in a baby's blood.

Rubens’s research, published in the journal Early Human Development, found that a surge of blood from the placenta during normal births, which is designed to kick-start breathing, may in some cases damage the workings of the inner ear.

In particular, the sudden increase in blood pressure can damage cells in the inner ear, which detect higher sound frequencies, a loss of which can be identified by tests during early infancy.

Rubens, a paediatric anaesthetist, says some of the cells may also have a second purpose as part of an early warning system to the brain that oxygen levels are falling in the baby’s blood.

If cells are damaged, this early warning relay is turned off and so babies with weaker lungs are at greater risk from choking or suffocation from overheating or a cramped position in a cot.

The article then goes onto suggest that, "a C-section birth might reduce cot deaths", and links a long labour, with ear injuries.

Further reading:
Cot death linked to babies who have suffered hearing damage - Sunday Times
Cot Deaths - BBC website
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) - Wikipedia

Comments (1)

Another example how we have a crap start in life eh? ...

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