Incongruent cerebral growth in sudden infant death syndrome

J Child Neurol. 2005 Mar;20(3):244-6. doi: 10.1177/088307380502000303.


Sudden infant death syndrome remains a leading cause of post-neonatal mortality in developed countries. Its etiopathogenic mechanisms are unknown. In this neuropathologic study, we noticed that the weights of the brains of infants who died from sudden infant death syndrome (n = 97) were invariably heavier in comparison with those of a group of age-matched controls (n = 23) issuing from the same local population. Brain edema was not a major element, and there were no significant microscopic or macroscopic cerebral anomalies in the brains from either of the study groups. Head circumference did not show a parallel increase in infants with sudden infant death syndrome. The excessive brain weight might reflect abnormal cerebral development and could be detrimental to vital neural control. In a previous study, we disclosed cytokine overexpression in the brains of these victims. Whether increased brain weight is linked to cytokine up-regulation remains, however, a moot case and merits further exploration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cephalometry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Risk Factors
  • Sudden Infant Death / etiology
  • Sudden Infant Death / pathology*