Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Baby

Font Size

Testosterone May Play Role in SIDS

Higher Testosterone Levels Could Indicate Risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 18, 2005 -- Infants with elevated testosterone levels may face a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), a new study suggests.

Researchers found infants who died from SIDS have 50%-120% higher testosterone levels in their blood than infants who died from other causes.

Previous studies have suggested that higher than normal levels of the male sex hormone may cause depressed breathing during sleep, which researchers say may in turn contribute to SIDS risk.

"These results may be important for better understanding of SIDS because the known relationship between testosterone and breathing during sleep provides a mechanism that potentially contributes to SIDS," says researcher Michael Emery, PhD, of the University of Washington, in a news release.

SIDS is one of the leading causes of death among infants 1 week to 1 year old. Although the number of SIDS deaths has decreased in recent years due to increased awareness of proper infant sleeping position (on the back), researchers say the exact cause of SIDS is unknown.

SIDS Linked to Testosterone

In the study, which appears in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers measured blood levels of estradiol (an estrogen hormone) and testosterone in 127 infants who had died of SIDS and 42 infants who died of other causes.

The results showed that testosterone levels in male SIDS infants were about 120% higher than in non-SIDS infants and 50% higher in female SIDS infants than non-SIDS infants.

Estradiol levels did not differ between the two groups.

Researchers say the results suggest that more studies are needed to examine the possible use of testosterone levels as an indicator of SIDS risk.

Baby's First Year Newsletter

Because every week matters, get expert advice and facts on what to expect in your baby's first year.

Today on WebMD

mother on phone holding baby
When you should call 911.
parents and baby
Unexpected ways your life will change.
baby acne
What’s normal – and what’s not.
baby asleep on moms shoulder
Help your baby get the sleep he needs.

mother holding baby at night
mother with sick child
Chinese mother breast feeding newborn baby girl
Track Your Babys Vaccines
Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
Woman holding feet up to camera
Father kissing newborn baby
baby gear slideshow