2008-07-03 Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: New Clue - Baby Mice Die When Brain Serotonin Levels Go Haywire


A new clue to the cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) comes from baby mice that suddenly die when their brain serotonin levels go haywire.

Serotonin is a signaling chemical that has far-reaching effects in the brain and other organs. But while too much or too little serotonin can cause many kinds of problems, death wasn't supposed to be one of them. Until now.

Cornelius Gross, PhD, and colleagues at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory near Rome genetically engineered mice to have abnormally low levels of serotonin. They didn't think this would kill the mice. After all, genetically engineered mice with no serotonin at all manage to survive.(Read entire article)

2008-07-03 Haywire brain chemical linked to sudden baby death




Scientists have new evidence that the brain chemical best known for regulating mood also plays a role in the mystifying killer of seemingly healthy babies -- sudden infant death syndrome.

Autopsied brain tissue from SIDS babies first raised suspicion that an imbalance in serotonin might be behind what once was called crib death.

But specialists couldn't figure out how that defect could kill. Now researchers in Italy have engineered mice born with serotonin that goes haywire -- and found the brain abnormality is enough to spur sudden death, in ways that mesh with other clues from human babies. (Read entire article)