Dundee University researchers seem to know what makes certain babies prone to SIDS and serious health ailments.
Colleagues from Edinburgh University and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow have closed in on the possible risk factors in premature and small babies which expose them to risks of cot death.
Professors Ann Burchell and Robert Hume, of the maternal and child health sciences division, are team leaders of a research group that has zeroed in on one of the causes of cot death - a flaw in the production of glucose.
Elaborating on the challenge in front of them, Professor Burchell said, "Figuring out why some babies and not others are more susceptible to sudden infant death syndrome or other serious illnesses is like putting together a massive jigsaw puzzle. What we have found is one piece of that puzzle, which we hope will lead us to discovering larger pieces."
The researchers explained how low birth-weight infants are prone to low blood glucose levels, which exposes them to the risk of SIDS. There appeared to be a flaw in the liver glucose production which could cause blood glucose levels to fall in times of stress.
The Dundee research team found that certain important genes involved in the production and transportation of glucose around the body, were not activated at the right time after birth in some babies. The delay is thought to expose babies to low blood glucose levels, which poses a huge risk of SIDS or cot death.
The researchers however reiterated that this finding alone cannot enable a sufficient reason for cot death. There is a need to look into genetic and environmental factors which could be related with the syndrome.