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New Discovery! Newborn Hearing Test Results Linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

In a breakthrough discovery, researchers have identified a link between newborn hearing test results and sudden infant death syndrome, (SIDS), also called crib death.  For years, concerned parents, doctors, and researchers have waited anxiously to learn the cause of SIDS in hopes of discovering a way to prevent it.  For unknown reasons and without warning, SIDS causes infants to die in their sleep.  It most frequently occurs in infants between the ages of two and four months and is the largest cause of death for young infants.

In his groundbreaking study, Dr. Daniel D. Ruebens analyzed the newborn hearing test results of healthy infants and infants that had died of SIDS.  His findings were astonishing.  All of the infants that had died of SIDS scored lower on three different sound frequencies tested on the right ear than the healthy infants did.  Further, healthy babies typically test stronger in the right ear, and the infants that died of SIDS all tested weaker in the right ear.  Dr. Ruebens suspects that damage to structures in the inner ear (cilia) may play a role in regulating breathing and predispose some infants to SIDS.  As the studies continue, researchers hope to use newborn hearing tests to identify infants that are at risk for SIDS and learn ways to prevent the condition from occurring.

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