New evidence supports extensive abnormalities in the brainstem serotonin system in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to research published in JAMA this week. The study was based on a comparison of frozen medullae from SIDS infants and from infants who died of other causes. "We have expanded upon previously identified abnormalities in the medullary serotonin system in SIDS cases," first author David S. Paterson of Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, Boston told The Scientist. Paterson said the research team pinpointed a specific subtype of serotonin receptor in the serotonin medullary system, which projects to the brainstem and spinal chord and regulates arousal, blood pressure, breathing, heart rate, and temperature."We knew there was a deficit in the serotonin receptors in the medulla in SIDS cases, but we didn't know what subtypes of receptors were involved," said Paterson. "Here, we identified the serotonin receptor 5-HT1A subtype, an autoreceptor...

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