Sudden infant death syndrome - investigating the genetic risk

Genetic risk in sudden infant death syndrome

Elijah Behr (lead researcher)

St George's, University of London

Start date: 01 November 2013 (Duration 2 years)

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS, commonly also known as cot death) is a devastating family tragedy that occurs when a child is younger than one year of age. The specific cause of death cannot be determined despite extensive investigations. But past research has shown that some SIDS victims (up to 15 per cent of cases) may have had underlying genetic defects that affect the heart or circulatory system.

Dr Elijah Behr and his team at St George’s University of London are looking to understand this link more precisely. Dr Behr has obtained information for 776 British cases of SIDS, which is thought to be the largest collected for analysis. The research will use the latest genetic screening techniques to identify the potential genes that may be responsible for SIDS occurring in these cases. In a second part of the study, Dr Wong and team will assess 50 families affected by SIDS to look for the presence of risk factors for heart and circulatory disease in the wider family. The findings should not only help to identify children who might be at risk of SIDS, but will also have a positive effect on the wider families, who may be affected, through offering appropriate counselling about their risk of being affected.

Project details

Grant amount £207,044
Grant type Fellowship
Application type Clinical Research Training Fellowship
Start Date 01 November 2013
Duration 2 years
Reference FS/13/78/30520
Status Complete

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