AFP, SIDS and Stillbirth

From Ritu, news on SIDS research. It seems that a study out of Cambridge is correlating high levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) in the mother’s blood during the second trimester with a higher chance of stillbirth or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS, also known as “crib death”).

Lime and I recently had a disagreement about this, I claimed that (according to what I’d read a few years ago) it had been pretty conclusively shown that parents leaving their kids unattended contributed to most crib deaths (especially considering that SIDS is rare in a lot of countries where parents never leave infants unattended) while she said that was a mere correlation and that it wasn’t the whole picture. Looks like she was right, and that it’s a pretty complex picture… which makes sense, her being the doctor-in-training and all.

My only concern about this kind of test is when it might result in unnecessary abortions of babies that could actually make it; however, I am hoping that what happens in the long, long term is an effort to find a way to treat mothers so that the prenatal environment is safer both for the mother and the baby alike. Some might call that “interfering” with nature, and yes, it sure is. We interfere with nature when we cut our hair and build houses, too, and thank goodness for it. Nature’s not so sacred and kind to us that we should bend to its every whim. Nature’s cold and cruel a lot of the time. We should feel no guilt in padding the corners whenever we can.

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