New Device Promises Earlier Brain Injury Detection, Attorney Explains
Brain injuries can have a long-term impact on a child’s health and life. Many of them are attributed to birth injuries. These can often be caused by a lack of oxygen during birth, and the severity can range from a passing issue to a lifelong disability to, in some cases, death.
It is deeply important that these injuries be identified as quickly and effectively as possible, and treatment targeted to the details of an individual case. New technology announced in September may prove vital to our treatment of brain injuries sustained at birth.
The current practice in neonatal brain injury detection is to perform an MRI. This is effective in its purpose, but cannot be used until a few days after birth. This creates a window of notable concern, especially in children whose birth had factors that put them at a higher risk of significant long-term brain damage. The BBC, however, reported this September on a new form of non-invasive testing technology which can be used immediately after birth.
This new technology, developed by researchers at University College London, uses red and infrared light to detect activity and oxygen levels. The device is similar to existing technology that uses light to measure oxygen levels in muscle tissue, but designed to be worn on the head of a newborn and gather information on the brain. If proven effective, this could be used to identify the extent and severity of damage, inform plans of treatment, and measure the effectiveness of treatment immediately after birth and well before an MRI is possible. The device has entered clinical testing in England and may not be available in the United States before that testing is complete.
One of the engineers on the project, Dr. Gemma Bale, explained the goal of the device at the British Science Festival this year. “The first week after birth is a really critical time in babies' development,” Bale said. “If we are able to get in sooner to assess the damage, we can tailor treatment to save lives and help prevent disability further down the line.”
We look forward to seeing the results of this clinical trial, and are encouraged at the advancements in brain damage identification and treatment. Families deserve to know that their children are receiving the best care available. Identifying and treating brain damage is only one factor, however. In the case of preventable injuries, doctors, nurses, and hospitals need to be held accountable for any damage they cause.
Contact us today to learn how we help children every day and what we can do for your family.