Study connects SIDS risk with infant formula

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An opioid-like element of cow's milk that is commonly found in infant formulas may be linked to sudden infant death syndrome ...

Polish researchers ... reported that 12 formula-fed infants who had experienced ''near-miss SIDS'' episodes where they temporarily stopped breathing had triple the number of peptides ... compared to 20 healthy formula-fed babies who had not experienced breathing difficulties.

The 12 children who had experienced life-threatening breathing problems also had low levels of an enzyme ... known to deactivate or modify BCM-7.

... BCM-7, a product of cow's milk, is known to have opioid-like effects, meaning any penetration of an infant's immature central nervous system could inhibit the child's respiratory system.

The researchers concluded that the two factors in the 12 vulnerable infants suggested a link between BCM-7 and apnoea (temporary suspension of breathing).

Australian doctors warned that the study was not sophisticated or big enough to draw conclusions and said parents did not need to act on the study.

... more research was required, but the research suggested that more of the peptide was getting into the brainstems of the ''near-miss'' babies because they had less of the DPPIV enzyme to break it down.

Dr Seton said the study reinforced the fact that breastfed infants were known to have about half the risk of SIDS compared to formula-fed babies.

... exposure to cigarette smoke [posed] the greatest risk factor now that most parents knew babies should sleep on their backs ...