Abnormality in kidneys could be key to cot deaths
Monday 08 February 1993
Examination of 24 victims of unexplained cot deaths showed that two-thirds had under-developed kidneys.
The abnormality, which occurred in the womb, would have left the babies vulnerable to dehydration, or a build-up of toxins, in the first six months of life, either of which can prove fatal.
This could explain factors linked with cot death, such as infection, over-wrapping or sleeping position. Such problems would probably be shaken off by a healthy baby but could kill a vulnerable one.
Dick van Velzen, professor of foetal and infant pathology and leader of the team at Liverpool University, described the findings as 'extremely significant'.
The scientists believe impaired growth in the womb of other vital organs, especially the lungs and brain, may also be connected with cot deaths.
They think there is a common link, a condition called Uterine Growth Retardation (UGR), which results in some babies being born smaller than they ought to be. Even a 'normal-sized' infant can fall into this category, if it is smaller than it would have been without UGR.
The breakthrough was achieved using microscope technology developed by Dr Vyvyan Howard, a senior lecturer in Professor van Velzen's department.
For the first time this allowed an accurate count to be made of the number of nephrons, or filter units, in the kidney. Healthy babies should have more than a million nephrons in each kidney, but the cot-death victims examined had far fewer - in some cases only 350,000.
In 1991, 1,134 babies under one year old were cot-death victims in the United Kingdom.
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
UK weather: Warning for more snow and ice as freezing temperatures and gales hit Britain
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...
£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have previous experience...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...