Instead, data from the brains of human babies who have died from the condition suggest a longer-term dysfunction within the serotonin system.“The result for anyone studying these neurons in relation to SIDS is totally relevant and totally interesting,” Cummings says.
Many parents know the frustration and misery of having an infant with colic.
Try as they might, there often seems to be no way for concerned parents to calm a crying child.
Though researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint the cause of colic — a commonly held belief is that it stems from a digestive issue — a research team has suggested that colic is rooted in the baby’s developing respiratory control system. C., Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, and his colleagues suggest that the origin of both colic and may be related to the gradual emergence of an infant’s ability to voluntarily control the release of air through the vocal tract, learned skills that are required for the development of speech.
The team also proposed that what causes an infant’s vulnerability to colic may be the same as what makes an infant at risk for sudden infant death syndrome (). Mc Kenna points out that infants are susceptible both to colic and during the same narrow developmental window, between about six to 14 weeks — the time period during which the respiratory system is learning how to shift between voluntary and involuntary control of breathing that involves both the “thinking” part of the brain (the cortex) and the brain stem.
This “fit” is best understood, it is argued, in terms of the 4–5 million years of human evolution in which parent-infant contact was almost certainly continuous during at least the first year of an infant’s life.
Thus, to dismiss the idea that solitary sleep has no physiological consequences for infants does not accord with scientific facts. Mc Kenna is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Pomona College.
An infant experiencing colic may be unable to stop crying due to the brain’s sub-systems failing to stop the agitated breathing cycle, scaring the child into continuing to cry.
“What if, as regards the seemingly inconsolable crying of colic, the infant is as much a victim as its parents? “What if the infant has no control whatsoever over stopping its crying nor the involuntary breathing that sustains it, with voice and breath becoming temporarily locked together, not permitting the infant to disassociate one from the another?
He also has an appointment as an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Child Psychiatry, and Human Behavior at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine.
His primary research interests and many of his publications concern aspects of primate parenting and infant development among both human and nonhuman primates.