Liver iron concentrations have been shown to be higher in victims of SIDS than in postmortem controls suggesting that high levels of tissue iron may be implicated in SIDS. To determine whether infants who subsequently die from SIDS are born with greater iron stores than those who do not, the iron stores in newborn infants were assessed retrospectively by measuring blood ferritin concentration in spots from Guthrie cards (collected from almost all infants born in the UK in the first week of life). A method for extracting and measuring ferritin from stored blood spots is described. Eighteen cases of SIDS were identified in South Glamorgan along with four controls for each case. Ferritin concentrations did not differ in SIDS victims and controls suggesting that victims of SIDS are not born with abnormal concentrations of stored iron. If iron stores are found to be higher in SIDS victims than in healthy live infants of the same age then it is more likely that the iron will have been acquired after birth.
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