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Ulcer Bug Link To Cot Death Already Disproved

T J Sprott OBE Consulting chemist
10 Combes Road Remuera Forensic scientist
Auckland 5

Sprott: Ulcer Bug Link To Cot Death Already Disproved

Dr Jim Sprott has debunked a claim by British researchers that cot death may be linked to infection caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori.

"It is quite clear from well-established cot death research that infection (including infection caused by Helicobacter pylori) is not the cause of cot death," stated Dr Sprott. "The idea that Helicobacter pylori may be linked to cot death is already disproved."

Dr Sprott points out:

* Any claimed link between cot death and bacteria in the body is disproved by the fact that face-up sleeping reduces the risk of cot death. Obviously, a baby's sleeping position is irrelevant to whether a particular bacterium is present in the baby's body.

* Any claimed link between cot death and bacteria in the body is disproved by the fact that the incidence of cot death increased markedly in the decades following World War II, but then fell abruptly during cot death prevention campaigns which had nothing to do with combating such bacteria.

* Such a link is disproved by official British statistics on cot death and deaths by infection. These statistics demonstrate that the cot death rate rises from one baby in a family to the next, and furthermore that this rising rate of cot death from one baby to the next is not due to infection.

* Such a link is also disproved by the fact that cot death does not occur when babies are protected from certain gases which can be generated in mattresses. Obviously, the presence of a gas-impermeable cover on a mattress is irrelevant to whether a particular bacterium is present in a baby's body.

* The researchers' statement that their finding may be explained by the benefits of breastfeeding is patently incorrect. Comparison of international cot death and breastfeeding statistics (including British statistics) proves that breastfeeding is irrelevant to the incidence of cot death.

"Like all other medically-based propositions for the cause of cot death, this proposition regarding Helicobacter pylori is demonstrably fallacious," said Dr Sprott. "All medical and physiological theories for the cause of cot death are disproved by the rising rate of cot death from one sibling to the next."

The reason why the cot death rate rises from one sibling to the next is that certain highly toxic gases can be generated in babies' mattresses, and parents re-use mattresses from one baby to the next. The fact that the cot death rate rises as mattresses are re-used was demonstrated by research conducted by the Scottish Cot Death Trust and reported in the British Medical Journal in 1997.

Since late 1994 Dr Sprott has conducted a nationwide mattress-wrapping campaign in New Zealand. Since that time the New Zealand cot death rate has fallen by 48%. "This reduction in the New Zealand cot death rate is not attributable to face-up sleeping," said Dr Sprott. "Face-up sleeping was introduced in New Zealand in 1989, and as early as 1993 fewer than 5% of New Zealand babies were sleeping prone."

There has been no reported cot death on any mattress wrapped to Dr Sprott's specifications for cot death prevention.

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