Hopes for cot death test

Scientists believe a simple blood test may predict cot death risk following discovery of heart defect

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Could a simple blood test at birth reveal whether your newborn is at risk of cot death? It’s the hope of many scientists and parents, and came a step closer after French scientists at the University of Strasbourg announced they’d discovered a link between a heart defect and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

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The research team believe that cot death may be linked to a fault in the baby’s heart which causes the heartbeat to slow and then stop altogether.

It’s hoped it will be possible to detect the presence of the heart defect in a blood sample. If so, doctors would be able to pinpoint babies who are born with this heart defect using a simple blood test after birth.

The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) described the work as an excellent piece of research, which could help to explain why some babies are at risk of cot death while apparently being healthy.

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However, this is early days and more research is needed before a test is developed. The first step will be to see if the results can be repeated elsewhere.

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