[Neuroscience] Love deprivation seems a plausible to be cruciallyinvolved cause behind many cases of SIDS

konstantin kouzovnikov myukhome at hotmail.com
Sat Apr 1 07:34:42 EST 2006

Peter, hi: Sorry I was not able to get my info on time, so I can respond to 

>My comment:
>An environment that chronically compromises infants' innate need for 
>stimulation and relaxing reassurance tend to cause "specific/synaptic
>hibernation" and a depression/depletion of serotonergic activity (and of
>course also a corresponding increase of opioidergic activity).

You are right on, as there is a number of concepts taking a very similar 
approach, without the reference to to this specific problem of SIDS, at list 
i connect it that way. For instance: (I am sorry if I am telling something 
you already know):

Evangelia Saleptsi (University of Konstanz) in the PHD dissertation called 
MEG Correlates during Affective Stimulus Processing in Posttraumatic Stress 
Disorder provides the following short outline of the issue:

in the point 1.2.1 Neuronatal Stress Model, she stated that

- Stress-like neonatal experiences cause stable changes in HPA axis 
functioning (De Kloet, Rosenfeld, et at, 88) or Sapolsky and Meaney, 86), 
i.e. the diathesis for the subsequent illness concept (Newport, Stowe, 
Nemeroff, 2002)

in the point 1.2.2 , Maternal deprivation in Rodens, she has the following 

- it creates potentiated behavioral changes resembling anxiety and 
depression (Pryce, Bettschen, Feldon, 2001)
- maternal separation induced acute changes in HPA axis activity by increses 
in serum conrticosterone and ACTH concentration (De Kloet et al, 88; 
Rasmussen, Charney, 97)
- by the way, I don't recall the name, but it is 2005 study that simulated 
acute stress in infant rats which showed dementia-like outcomes in their 
latter adulthood

However, these references are mostly connected with the dopaminergic changes 
and I find your references to serotonine and especially opioid changes are 
even more valuable, although my own guess is that the opioid change reflets 
rather adjusting/compensative strategy as, later in onthogenesis, in 
self-abusive behavior causing excitation of the euphoric aspects of pain 
self-production which is a primitive, but rather effective way to fight the 
anxieties and depression by raising the arousal levels and reducing the 
dysthymia. Little described in research as well as in clinical reports, the 
adults with a combination of severe neurodevelopmental deficits and mental 
illness (the "other" dually diagnosed folks) use the pain production 
habitually, just like you or I would have shot fo g"good stuff".

Getting back to SIDS, I am sure my goof friend Dr. Michael Higgins who has 
done planty of neursurgeries to kids, would have more insights about it as 
my brain neurology/pharamacology is still developing, so I am sending this 
one for his attention, too.



Today I read a short news item in New Scientist that relayed something about
research relevant to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome done by Jan-Marino Ramirez
of University of Chicago (originally reported in The Journal of Neuroscience
vol 26 page 2623). It stated that his and his collaborators' reseach had
confirmed that serotonin activates "pacemaker" neurons in the medulla -
cells that promote the gasping/anti-suffocation reflex.

The short article also mentioned that other studies have found that victims
of SIDS have fewer serotonin receptors in the same brain region.

My comment:

An environment that chronically compromises infants' innate need for optimal
stimulation and relaxing reassurance tend to cause "specific/synaptic
hibernation" and a depression/depletion of serotonergic activity (and of
course also a corresponding increase of opioidergic activity).

Not that this scenario cannot crucially combine with the ordinarily
considered contributory factors, such as smoke-polluted air, a face-down
sleeping position, and overheating.

By "love deprivation" I refer to a basically detrimental conditioning of
brain-chemistry and neural  functions caused by relatively fixed sources of
adversely influential environmental features;
Slightly less generally put: I refer to the negation or absence of  the need
for comforting and stimulating touch, and close physical proximity and a
sufficient daily dose of healthy emotional interactivity provided
(preferably) by parents;
And, for something really specific and of particular relevance to SIDS:
a lack of a comforting physical closeness caused by the common idea and
insistence that babies should sleep and learn to go to sleep in a separate
room away from their parents.


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