Sudden infant death syndrome: The colon connection

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5 Scopus citations


The etiology of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is not known. Various maternal and infant risk factors have been identified. Adoption of the non-prone position has reduced the incidence of SIDS but has not eliminated the problem. Some sulfate reducing bacteria in the colon produce hydrogen sulfide (H 2S) which is as toxic as hydrogen cyanide. Normally, the colonic mechanism for metabolizing and detoxifying H2S is very effective and no H2S appears in the exhaled breath although small amounts are present in the flatus. We are putting forth the hypothesis that in some cases of SIDS colonocytic mechanism for detoxifying H2S may not have matured by the age of 3 months and H2S may be absorbed resulting in SIDS. The hypothesis can be tested by in vitro evaluation of colonic tissue from SIDS cases for its ability to detoxify H2S.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-379
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Medicine(all)
  • Drug Discovery


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