Dummies may boost heart health in babies

Last Updated: Sunday, May 12, 2013 - 18:18

Washington: Using a dummy could protect babies from cot death by improving their cardiac control, according to new Australian study.

Epidemiological studies have consistently shown dummy use protects against cot death or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Associate Professor Rosemary Horne, of the Monash Institute of Medical Research said.

However, Horne said, how the soother does this has been unclear, `ABC News` reported.

"Since 2005 there have been a number of case-controlled studies and they have all shown dummies to be protective, yet how does it work when dummies fall out 15 minutes after the baby goes to sleep," she said.

Horne and colleagues suggest the use of dummies helps improve infants` cardiac control.

SIDS is related to the failure of the infant`s cardiac system to adjust appropriately to changes in heart rate and blood pressure and the inability to arouse themselves from sleep when breathing stops or there is a sudden fall in blood pressure, she said.

"It is counterintuitive that it would increase arousal as you give a dummy to a baby to go to sleep," said Horne.

As many as 37 healthy full-term-born infants were monitored during day sleeps at two to four weeks, two to three months and five to six months.

Researchers found in dummy users, the act of sucking increased heart rate variability, a measure of how the cardiovascular system adjusts the heart rate in response to changes in blood pressure, across all age groups.

However, when dummy users were compared with non-users during non-sucking periods, differences in heart rate variability were only evident in the youngest two to four-week-old age group.

In this age group, dummy users had higher heart rate variability than non-users even when babies weren`t sucking.

This indicates dummy use may improve cardiac control in newborns, which may serve as a protective mechanism for SIDS, Horne said.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, May 12, 2013 - 18:18

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