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D. Rubens, M.D.
The Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) persists as the great medical mystery of the modern era in relation to other medical conditions in that the basic underlying mechanism of this tragic phenomenon has remained elusive. We propose that the predisposition for SIDS is incurred by a birthing insult that impacts a number of organs that includes the inner ear. We hypothesize that a perinatal insult of the delicate cells inside the inner ear is not immediately lethal but it predisposes the affected newborn to a later fatal event. We suggest that SIDS may be an acronym for "Subtle Injury of a Delicate System". In a pilot project, we identified a consistent and statistically significant newborn hearing difference in 31 SIDS infants compared to controls by their Newborn Hearing Screen tests. This finding supports the notion that inner ear function may play a role in SIDS and the potential application of a relatively simple hearing test to identify the SIDS predisposition following birth for the first time.