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Title: The protective effect of breast feeding in relation to sudden infant death syndrome
Author: Gordon, Ann Elizabeth
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1999
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A model has been proposed which suggests that SIDS victims die from uncontrolled inflammatory responses to bacterial toxins. Bacteria associated with SIDS include Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium perfringens. Most SIDS deaths occur during 2 - 4 months of age when infants have decreasing levels of maternal antibodies to infectious agents. Most deaths occur during the early hours of the morning. Adults are more susceptible to inflammatory responses at night due to lower cortisol levels associated with circadian rhythm patterns. Infants develop these patterns between 7 - 22 weeks, at which time their night-time cortisol levels drop dramatically. Breast fed infants develop these patterns significantly earlier than formula fed infants. Human buffy coats were used to investigate pro-inflammatory cytokine production in response to TSST-1 and to investigate the effect of cortisol levels observed in infants before and after circadian rhythm pattern development. The bacterial binding studies indicate protection associated with breast feeding in relation to SIDS could be due partly to enhanced clearance of bacterial aggregates. Human IgA antibodies in breast milk might neutralise bacterial toxins on mucosal surfaces. If the switch to the circadian rhythm pattern occurs in an infant when maternal antibodies are present or an infant is receivng IgA in breast milk, the infant might be able to neutralise a challenge with the toxins; however, if the switch occurs in an infant when antibody levels are low or an infant is formula fed, lower night-time cortisol levels might be insufficient to control inflammatory responses induced by bacterial toxins alone or in combination with other infections.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available