FYI from the NHLBI Index

May 2003: Vol. 4, Issue 1
Feature Articles


Seemingly Unrelated, Fatal Conditions May Share Genetic Defects


Winners of National "How I Get a Heap of Sleep" Contest Announced

Seemingly Unrelated, Fatal Conditions May Share Genetic Defects

Long-QT Syndrome (LQTS), an inherited heart rhythm disorder that causes sudden cardiac death in children and young adults, may not get a lot of attention in the popular press, but researchers familiar with this rare disease have found evidence that associates it with a much more widely known condition sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Scientists led by pediatric cardiologist Dr. Michael J. Ackerman, Director of the LQTS Clinic at the Mayo Clinic, studied a number of infants who died of SIDS and found that approximately 3 percent of them had genetic mutations associated with LQTS. Mutations in a gene encoding a sodium channel that is critical to the heart’s electrical system were found in 2 of 58 white babies with SIDS. This study, conducted through the Mayo Clinic, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Wisconsin, and the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, provides what is perhaps the strongest indicator yet for a genetic role in SIDS. Through a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Dr. Ackerman and his team now are investigating whether the other genes involved in LQTS may also cause some cases of SIDS.

The C.A.R.E. Foundation NICHD SIDS Materials For more information on LQTS or other heart rhythm disorders, please contact the Cardiac Arrhythmias Research and Education (C.A.R.E.) Foundation at 800-404-9500 or visit their Web site.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Web site provides information about SIDS.

Article contributed by: Ms. Kathy McInerney, Director of Development, C.A.R.E. Foundation.
Modified 5/1/03
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Winners of National "How I Get a Heap of Sleep" Contest Announced

Students of the District of Columbia’s Shadd Elementary School met Garfield the Cat and three "How I Get a Heap of Sleep" contest winners at a special ceremony on January 28. The contest, which challenged children to describe what they do before bed to help them sleep, was part of the "Sleep Well. Do Well. Star Sleeper" Campaign to teach children and their parents about the importance of sleep. It was offered to children nationwide through online and classroom promotions, including a lesson plan that was sent to 44,000 second and third grade classrooms.

Garfield, the NHLBI Star Sleeper Campaign Spokescat

Dr. Lenfant and Dr. Carl E. Hunt, Director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the NHLBI — joined by Garfield — awarded prizes to Danielle Wodka, age 7, of Illinois, and Amanda Davol of Massachusetts and Qian Wang of Kentucky, both age 8. Also, six Shadd students were awarded Star Sleeper status for winning a local version of the contest. Among the things the awardees said they did each night to help them get a good night’s sleep was saying "a prayer for my parents, baby sister, and our President Bush" (Wodka); not watching TV (Davol); and finishing his homework early "because then I can get a relaxing evening" (Wang).

The Campaign is cosponsored by Paws, Inc., the corporate entity behind Garfield the Cat.

Modified 5/1/03
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