Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Texas Researcher Finds Increased SIDS Risk In Twins

June 4, 1997
Johns Hopkins Children's Center
Twins die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome at more than double the rate of single births, according to research at the University of Texas-Galveston. If one twin died of SIDS, the other had a six- to twelvefold risk of SIDS as well.

Related Articles

(409) 772-2618

(800) 228-1841


GALVESTON -- Infants from twin births have more than twice the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) compared to babies of single pregnancies, a national study examining birth and death records of twins confirmed. Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston also found an increased risk of a surviving twin dying of SIDS once his twin dies of the syndrome.

Michael H. Malloy, M.D., professor in the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston's Division of Neonatology conducted the study with co-author Daniel Freeman Jr., Ph.D., director of UTMB's Office of Biostatistics. Malloy presented the data last month at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Washington, D.C.

The study, using national birth and death records from 1987, found 2.76 SIDS deaths per 1,000 live twin births -- more than double the rate of 1.2 SIDS deaths per 1,000 live births of single pregnancies.

Of the 66,276 fraternal and identical twins in Malloy's study, 183 were identified as dying of SIDS, including three pairs of twins. Cases of both twins dying were rare. But the risk of a surviving twin dying of SIDS given the death of its co-twin was considerably increased above the risk of either twin dying of the syndrome.

"If one twin dies of SIDS, the risk may be from six- to twelvefold greater that the other twin will die," Malloy said. "But the absolute number of such events occurring is still very low."

Malloy's study may also dispel a myth that twins die of SIDS on the same day. At least in 1987, none of the three pairs of twins dying of SIDS died on the same day.

"There is a lot of mythology out there about twins and SIDS," Malloy said. "This is an area that has not been researched a great deal."

SIDS is the leading cause of mortality after infants' first four weeks of life, with 4,073 deaths in the United States attributed to the syndrome in 1994. While the underlying mechanism for SIDS remains unknown, epidemiological studies have linked it with several factors, including the association with twin births.

"The increased risk of SIDS among twin births is particularly interesting because it brings forward the issue of trying to understand where environmental contributions causing SIDS may trail off and hereditary contributions to the cause of SIDS may begin," Malloy said.

SIDS has been linked to such environmental factors as infants sleeping on their stomachs, soft bedding, seasonal conditions, low birth weight and exposure to cigarette smoke.

Malloy said the increased risk of a second twin dying if its sibling dies of SIDS may simply show that both were exposed to the same environmental factors, or it may show that both were predisposed to the syndrome genetically.

"There's more we need to study," he said. "It's likely that a great deal of the risk can be ascribed to the environment, but we don't have enough information to rule out heredity."

Previous reports suggesting that twins have a higher incidence of SIDS looked at populations in smaller regions. The UTMB-funded study used a new computer program to identify twins using national vital statistics. Twins -- not identifiable as belonging to the same pair in birth or death records -- were matched using birth dates and locations, as well as demographic information about their parents.

"It gives a good look at what's happening across the United States, not just one specific area," Malloy said.

Malloy has applied for grants to study more recent years in order to determine if the declining rate of SIDS in the general population is mirrored in the twin population. That decline followed campaigns to inform parents of the importance of laying their children on the backs rather than their stomachs.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Children's Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Children's Center. "Texas Researcher Finds Increased SIDS Risk In Twins." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 June 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/06/970604083744.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Children's Center. (1997, June 4). Texas Researcher Finds Increased SIDS Risk In Twins. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/06/970604083744.htm
Johns Hopkins Children's Center. "Texas Researcher Finds Increased SIDS Risk In Twins." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/06/970604083744.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This

More From ScienceDaily

More Health & Medicine News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

AFP (Jan. 25, 2015) The World Health Organization&apos;s chief on Sunday admitted the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) Much of the Disneyland measles outbreak is being blamed on the anti-vaccination movement. The CDC encourages just about everyone get immunized. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

AP (Jan. 23, 2015) Public health officials are rushing to contain a measles outbreak that has sickened 70 people across 6 states and Mexico. The AP&apos;s Raquel Maria Dillon has more. (Jan. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins