Crib Death (SIDS)

Studies have revealed a correlation between spinal abnormalities, including trauma and crib death or SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

Sudden infant death syndrome--United States, 1983-1994. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1996 Oct 11;45(40):859-63 (ISSN: 0149-2195)
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is "the sudden death of an infant under 1 year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history." Although SIDS is a diagnosis of exclusion and of unknown etiology, it is the leading cause of post neonatal mortality in the United States, accounting for approximately one-third of all such deaths. This report analyzes age-, race-, and region-specific trends for SIDS in the United States during 1983-1994 (the latest year for which final data are available) and indicates that annual rates of SIDS declined more than three times faster during 1990-1994 than during 1983-1989.

Atlanto-Occipital hyper mobility in sudden infant death syndrome. Hospers LA, et al. Today's Chiropractic Jan/Feb, 1990; 19 (1): 36-40.

Upper cervical instability along with atlas inversion into the foramen magnum can cause incomplete or temporary compromise to the blood supply of the upper spinal cord and brain stem. This can cause impairment of the respiratory centers in the medulla (brain stem) as seen in "chronic intermittent hypoxia" (long-term decrease in oxygen) present at autopsies of SIDS cases.

High cervical stress and apnoea. Forensic Sci Int 1998 Oct 12;97(1):1-9 Koch LE, Biedermann H, Saternus KS. Institute of Forensic Medicine, Univ of Gottingen, Germany.
The aim of this study was to investigate vegetative reactions in infants after mechanical irritation of the suboccipital region. 199 infants were observed while being treated with a suboccipital impulse (manual therapy). The results revealed vegetative reactions in more than half of all cases (52.8%, n = 105). The frequency of such vegetative reactions observed was at follows: flush 48.7% (n = 97), apnoea 22.1% (n = 44), hyperextension 13% (n = 26), and sweating 7.5% (n = 15).

Approximately 25% of all the infants examined reacted by apnoea due to a mechanical irritation of the suboccipital region. This symptom was part of an extensive vegetative reaction. This method of inducing an apnoea has not yet been described; from this it follows that there are close relations to sudden infant death.

Latent spinal cord and brain stem injury in newborn infants. Towbin, A, Dev Med Child Neuro. 11:54-68, 1969.

Autopsy of infants who died of SIDS revealed blood in the spinal cord, which the author hypothesized, was due to obstetrical trauma.

Atlanto-occipital hypermobility in sudden infant death syndrome. Schneier M, Burns R.

Released by Association for Research in Chiropractic. April, 1989. Also published in Chiropractic: The Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation Vol. 7, No. 2, July 1991.

This was a triple blinded x-ray study. Seventy-four infant cadavers were X-rayed; fifty of the sets of films were readable with sufficient confidence to make measurements. Evaluation of the data indicated that all deceased infants exhibiting atlas inversion into foramen magnum were victims of SIDS, but not all SIDS infants exhibited atlas inversion.

This corroborates the work of Giles et al regarding atlanto-occipital instability, atlas inversion, and unexplained infant death.

Infantile atlanto-occipital instability. Giles FH, Bina M, Sotrel A. AM J Dis Child 1979;133:30.

In a study of 17 infant cadavers the author found instability in the atlanto-occipital level in some of the infants.

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