Student researchers have developed a device that is extremely low cost, and that may help avert some of the worst brain damage that some children suffer during a difficult delivery.

According to reports, the device is so simple and cost effective that it should be able to help people—even in developing nations without a great deal of resources dedicated to medical care.

This particular device is designed to help prevent brain damage that results from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which results from the brain not receiving enough oxygen. If severe enough (or not properly mitigated), children with HIE often suffer from serious complications, including the development of cerebral palsy.

Oxygen deprivation can occur for many different reasons. In some cases, it has to do with the umbilical cord, or it occurs when a birth is much more difficult than was anticipated to have been. According to a professor at the Johns Hopkins school of medicine, the device is user-friendly and can even be used by people who don’t have advanced medical training.

The Concept

Reducing body temperature can help to prevent cells from dying due to hypoxia. The device that the students devised to combat this particular type of brain damage works in a similar fashion to a cold pack. It is much more advanced, however, being outfitted with a microprocessor that keeps track of the child’s temperature to ensure that the child is kept safe. The project is now known as the “Cooling Cure” project, and is slated to receive funding from various sources. Clinical trials on human beings are the next step in getting the device approved for usage.

Infant Brain Damage

Brain damage to a newborn child is a very real threat. In fact, there are hundreds of thousands of people who suffer from cerebral palsy, which resulted directly from brain damage suffered at birth. Sometimes, the causes are natural. In other cases, they are a direct result of medical malpractice. Whatever the cause may be, we hope that this device help lessen the severity of these types of birth injuries.

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