Carbon monoxide from Smoking: A possible risk factor for SIDS

Professor Allesandro Mugelli and colleagues
University of Florence, Italy
(2001: £22000 over 2 years, 2004: 38000 over 2 years)

Research has shown that parental smoking, particularly maternal smoking during pregnancy, greatly increases the risk of SIDS for a baby. However, the reason for this has never been properly explained.

In newborn babies there is a temporary change in the electro-physiology of the heart. In the vast majority of cases, this change reverts to normal by 6 months of age. If there is a delay in reverting to normal, it may lead to abnormal rhythm of the heart pump and perhaps expose the infant to sudden death.

This research group will examine the possibility that babies exposed to carbon monoxide in the womb (that is, whose mothers smoke) may not make this important move back to normal at the same time as babies whose mothers do not smoke.