BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.


Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Radio
BBC Radio 4 - 92 to 94 FM and 198 Long WaveListen to Digital Radio, Digital TV and OnlineListen on Digital Radio, Digital TV and Online

PROGRAMME FINDER:
Programmes
Podcasts
Schedule
Presenters
PROGRAMME GENRES:
News
Drama
Comedy
Science
Religion|Ethics
History
Factual
Messageboards
Radio 4 Tickets
Radio 4 Help

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 

Science
CASE NOTES
MISSED A PROGRAMME?
Go to the Listen Again page
PROGRAMME INFO
Tuesday 21:00-21:30
Repeat Wednesday 16:30
Dr Mark Porter gives listeners the low-down on what the medical profession does and doesn't know. Each week an expert in the studio tackles a particular topic and there are reports from around the UK on the health of the nation - and the NHS.
Contact Case Notes
LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 13 January
PRESENTER
DR MARK PORTER
Dr Mark Porter
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Tuesday 13 January 2009
A baby placed on its back

Full programme transcript >>

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Six babies die unexpectedly every week in the UK as a result of cot death – or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Doctors struggle to explain these deaths, and in this episode of Case Notes, Dr Mark Porter hears the latest thinking about what their cause could be.

The death toll in the UK from cot death has been slashed in recent years.

This is largely due to the pioneering work of paediatrician Professor Peter Fleming and his team at the University of Bristol and The Bristol Children’s and St Michael’s Hospitals.

Back in the 1990s, doctors all around the world encouraged parents to put their babies to sleep on their backs - and rates of cot death fell dramatically.

It's thought that the Back to Sleep campaign has saved the lives of up to 20,000 children and young people in the UK since it started.

Other risk factors which have been identified are smoking, bed-sharing where one of the parents has been drinking alcohol, taking drugs or is extremely tired, and sleeping with a baby on a soft surface or a sofa.

The peak age of a sudden infant death is around 2 to 4 months and the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths recommends that babies share a bedroom with their parents until they are six months old.

We hear from one mother in Leeds who wants to make sure she makes the right decisions about sleeping arrangements now that her six-month-old daughter is moving to her own room.

One current theory about cot death which researchers are exploring is the Triple Risk Hypothesis.

This is where a baby could be at increased risk because of a) a pre-existing susceptibility, such as being premature; b) at a vulnerable stage of development and c) some external trigger is present - such as an infection.

Neil Sebire, a paediatric pathologist from Great Ormond Street Hospital, explains what could be happening when these 3 risk factors come together.

Another study in Bradford is analysing whether the cultural practices in the Asian community - where babies have a low risk of cot death - could have a protective effect.

And Sophie Bissmire recounts the devastating experience of losing her baby to cot death.  Her daughter Niamh died 9 years ago when she was just 13 weeks old.

Sophie now works for the FSIDs helpline, offering support to other bereaved parents and advice to new parents as well as medical professionals.

Next week: insects
Listen Live
Audio Help
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
DON'T MISS
Leading Edge
PREVIOUS PROGRAMMES
Emergency Services
Ovary
Heart Attacks
Appendix
Insects
Cot Death
Antibiotics and Probiotics
Taste
Abortion
HPV 
Hair
Poisons
Urology
Aneurysms
Bariatric Surgery
Gardening
Pain
Backs - Slipped Discs
Prostate Cancer
Sun and Skin
Knees
Screening
Rheumatology
Bowel Cancer
Herpes
Thyroid
Fainting
Liver
Cystic Fibrosis
Superbugs
Side Effects
Metabolic Syndrome
Transplants
Down's Syndrome
The Voice
M.E./CFS
Meningitis
Childhood Burns
Statins
Alzheimer's
Headaches
Feet
Sexual Problems
IBS
Me and My Op
Lung Cancer and Smoking
Cervical Cancer
Hips
Caesarean Sections
The Nose
Multiple Sclerosis
Radiology
Palliative Care
Eyes
Shoulders
Leukaemia
Blood Pressure
Contraception
Parkinson's Disease
Head Injuries
Tropical Health
Ears
Arts and Health 
Allergies
Nausea
Menopause and Osteoporosis
Immunisation
Intensive Care (ICU)
Manic Depression
The Bowel
Arthritis
Itching
Fractures
The Jaw
Keyhole Surgery
Prescriptions
Epilepsy
Hernias
Asthma
Hands
Out of Hours
Kidneys
Body Temperature
Stroke
Face Transplants
Backs
Heart Failure
The Royal Marsden Hospital
Vitamins
Cosmetic Surgery
Tired All The Time (TATT)
Obesity
Anaesthesia
Coronary Artery Surgery
Choice in the NHS
Back to School
Homeopathy
Hearing and Balance
First Aid
Dentists
Alder Hey Hospital - Children's Health
Thrombosis
Arrhythmias
Pregnancy
Moorfields Eye Hospital
Wound Healing
Joint Replacements
Premature Babies
Prison Medicine
Light
Respiratory Medicine
Indigestion
Urinary Incontinence
The Waiting Game
Diabetes
Contraception
Depression
Auto-immune Diseases
Prescribing Drugs
Get Fit and Get Well Food
Autism
Vaccinations
Oral Health
Blood
Heart Attacks
Genetic Screening
Fertility
A+E & Triage
Antibiotics
Screening Tests
Sexual Health
Baldness


Back to Latest Programme
Health & Wellbeing Programmes
Current Programmes
Archived Programmes

News & Current Affairs | Arts & Drama | Comedy & Quizzes | Science | Religion & Ethics | History | Factual

Back to top


About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy