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A new study conducted in Australia may have identified why babies die from the heartbreaking and mysterious condition of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.

Researchers are calling the small peer-reviewed study, published in The Lancet medical journal on May 6, a potential breakthrough in understanding SIDS and developing preventative measures to reduce the risk of disease.

According to the study, babies who died from SIDS had lower levels of the enzyme butyrylcholinesterase than living babies or those who died from other causes, ABC Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton said on "Good Morning America" Friday.

Butyrylcholinesterase, or BChE, is thought to be involved in brain arousal pathways, which control critical bodily functions like the drive to take a breath, Ashton said.

"Potentially, this would represent a target for intervention if you could screen babies, find that they have a low enzyme level and improve that. But again, this is preliminary research at this point," she said.

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The White House says it will crack down on price gouging and take steps to import more baby formula.

Pedestrians advise parents to reduce the risk of SIDS by:
  • Placing babies on their backs for all sleep times -- naps and at night
  • Avoiding blankets in cribs
  • Breastfeeding if possible
  • Keeping babies in the parents' or guardians' sleeping area for at least six months, but not in the adults' beds

In 2019, about 1,250 babies in the United States died due to sudden infant death syndrome, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The deaths often occur during sleep and in the baby's sleeping area.

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Michigan Officials Coordinate Statewide Response To Baby Formula Shortage

(CBS DETROIT) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday that Michigan is taking action to address the baby formula shortage.

Officials say multiple agencies, including the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, will be working to ensure “parents who need formula get the resources and support they need to provide for their babies.”

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According to WIC, about 85% of formula-fed WIC participants are affected by the shortage.

“Today I spoke with Abbott leadership and offered support to help get production back on track,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I will do everything I can as governor to boost baby formula production, getting it from factories to store shelves and into people’s homes. I know how anxious parents must feel right now, and it’s crucial that they have confidence that a product is safe for their babies. I urge federal leaders to use every tool at their disposal to boost formula production. We’re tackling the shortage head-on in Michigan and working with our federal and private sector partners to fix supply logistics and ensure every baby has what they need.”

The MDHHS released new guidance of the dos and don’ts for parents:

DOS: The department recommends that families do consider trying another brand of formula as most regular baby formulas are enough alike that most healthy babies can switch without problems. It is important that babies be fed an appropriate substitute if their usual formula is not available. All standard infant formulas for healthy babies meet the same FDA high standards for quality and nutrition.  

DON’TS: The department recommends that families don’t feed their babies homemade formula, or ‘water down’ formulas to stretch them out, as these are unsafe practices. 

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(credit: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services)

If you have concerns about infant formula, contact your health care provider or FDA at 1-888-INFO-FDA (1-888-463-6332), or file a report online at MedWatch. Contact your child’s healthcare provider if you are unable to access the formula your child needs. 

In addition, the Department of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team is working to identify and investigate any instances of price gouging.

Complaints can be filed online through the Department of Attorney General.

“While we have not seen a significant influx of complaints thus far, my team will remain vigilant in ensuring this shortage isn’t compounded by illegal business practices that will only inflict additional harm on parents of infants right now,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.If you suspect instances of price gouging, please report it to our office so we can take appropriate action.”

In March, WIC expanded its temporary list of WIC-authorized powder baby formula substitutes. Click here to view that list, which was effective on March 9.

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