BABIES who die from SIDS have brain stem abnormalities regardless of whether they were exposed to risks such as suffocation or co-sleeping, new research has found.
The international research team, involving a Melbourne scientist, will now look at whether a blood test can be developed as an early screening tool to identify infants at risk of sudden and unexpected death in their first year.
A collaboration between the Boston Children’s Hospital and Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health’s Dr Jhodie Duncan analysed the brain stems of 71 infants who had died suddenly and unexpectedly over 11 years
They all had abnormalities of four neurochemicals in the brain stem, which is at the base of the skull and connects the brain to the spinal cord.
It keeps bodily functions such as blood pressure and oxygen levels constant in response to changing factors in the environment.
Dr Duncan said the research, published in the journal Pediatrics, suggested this abnormality left the infants unable to adequately respond when faced with a stressor while asleep.
“In a healthy infant, if a pillow goes over their face, the brain normally detects changes in oxygen levels and initiates arousal responses. The baby would turn its head and continue breathing,” Dr Duncan said.
Infants with the abnormality did not “respond properly” in the same situation, which lead to death, she said.
Funny 50′s terms.
A new book from “a star columnist” at a Moscow tabloid is making headlines in Russia, Spiegel reports. The book, by Stanislav Belkovsky, suggests, among other things, that Vladimir Putin is gay.
Western intelligence agencies, diplomats and experts on Russia are interested in two parts of Belkovsky’s theories in particular: Putin’s supposed fabulous wealth and his sex life. According to Belkovsky, Putin’s alleged affair with beautiful former gymnast and Olympic champion Alina Kabaeva was nothing more than an invention of his PR advisors. They painted a picture of Putin as “macho and (a) sex bomb” in order to conceal, as Belkovsky speculates, that for him “sex and a sex life are alien” or even that he is “latently gay.”
A 2007 photo shot at which Putin’s reputation as a “gay icon” was apparently established supposedly serves as evidence for this gay speculation, as it was a “truly erotic photo session in which Putin and Prince Albert of Monaco posed topless with their fishing rods in their hands.” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov flatly rejected this accusation, just like the speculation over his alleged wealth or the forgery of his birth date. “Belkovsky’s remarks are lacking any basis, or as we say it in Russia: They are total rubbish,” Peskov said.
Belkovsky himself seems to be aware he is skating on thin ice with his speculation over the Kremlin chief’s possible homosexual proclivities, he writes, “for the lawyers among my readers,” it should be noted that “a cult figure among homosexuals is not automatically a homosexual himself.”
Europe has its second openly gay prime minister, Reuters reports:
BettelLuxembourg swore in Xavier Bettel as its first openly gay prime minister on Wednesday, paving the way for the introduction of social reforms such as same-sex marriage.
Bettel replaces Jean-Claude Juncker, who was until Wednesday the European Union’s longest-serving head of government, with 19 years in power. That distinction is now held by Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, who took office in April 2005.
Bettel, whose deputy Etienne Schneider is also openly gay, is expected to introduce other changes like replacing religious instruction in school with more general ethics classes.
Bettel was previously mayor of Luxemboug city. Europe’s other openly gay prime minister is Belgium’s Elio Di Rupo.
Bettel told Buzzfeed that visibility for elected officials has improved quite a bit since he stepped into the political spotlight in the 90s:
“I once had a [female politician] who said I was more lady than her. But society is changing and what would be considered as not normal is fully normal nowadays. You can live your life as yourself and be considered as you are – not because you look like a politician who is married and with children.”