There is nothing as traumatizing as sudden death, it’s too unpredictable and comes in the most unexpected forms: heart attack during lunch. It’s something that your doctor never mentioned and your parents are too scared to discuss about it. Death can be scary, but then it gets scarier and terrible when it’s something sudden and was not anticipated.
Sarah Topol, who is the coordinator of Scripps Translational Institute Clinical Trials says there must be something that is underpinning the occurrence of sudden deaths; their study intends to look at genetic clues that can be used to effectively prevent sudden deaths. Topol has formed a team that she calls Molecular Autopsy Team, they intend to use, powerful equipment’s in DNA sequencing and hence are able to determine the cause of sudden deaths. The study is intended to last for 10 years and will entail looking at the DNA compositions of people who have suffered sudden deaths in the past. Closely examining their blood and body tissues. Currently the research team is working together with Life Sharing and San Diego Medical Examiner’s office. 400000 cardiac arrests occur annually, according to The American Heart Association and a youthful deaths range between 1000 -5000. Topol thinks that a heart attack can be caused by an occurrence in the heart that that triggered a heart attack hence damaging the heart muscle causing heart failure.
In the 14th and 15th century people would wear charms and carry talismans in order to wave the monster of sudden death. Theses virtual protection were believed to protect one from sudden death. For staunch Catholics, sudden death meant no room for repentance and death rites meaning there was a high probability of one being sent to hell or purgatory. Anyone was worried both the old and the young. That’s why many looked for guardians to protect them from sudden death.
Topol studies people who are below the age of 45 years and have no history of any unhealthy living or medical conditions. Individuals who seem to be in very good health condition, but then died suddenly due to heart failure or heart attack. The study will also look at children since there has been a constant increase in sudden deaths in children also. Researchers have carried out studies to determine the cause of sudden deaths among children and also among athletics. Topol’s team will also study family members of the dead people by performing genetic analysis by use of saliva samples. A mother of a boy who suffered sudden death has since been fitted with an internal defibrillator and is the carrier of the same mutated gene as her son. This is to act as a protection measure should she suffer from a similar heart attack as her son, then the machine will be able to save her.
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