Doctors say a blood test given shortly after birth to newborns deprived of oxygen during the birth process may be able to pinpoint which of the babies face the greatest risk of neurological diseases like epilepsy or cerebral palsy. Medical professionals in Texas are optimistic about the report.
Experts say the test can detect the presence of long term neurological issues caused by a birth injury by measuring the on and off switching of genes. Studies planned soon will seek to determine if the actions of these genes may also lead to treatment methods that will prevent brain damage through birth injuries from becoming permanent.
Researchers for the Imperial College of London collaborated with groups in the United States, India, and Italy to complete the study. The group published its findings in the Scientific Reports.
Newborns in India were the subjects of the study. Hospitals in the country see as many as one million birth asphyxia cases each year. Birth asphyxia happens when a newborn doesn’t receive the oxygen it needs during the birth process.
The possible reasons babies can experience oxygen deprivation during birth include the receipt of oxygen-deficient blood from the mother, an infection of some type, or a problem with the umbilical cord.
The brain injuries that can result from oxygen deprivation during the birth process can affect various parts of the brain. These injuries can manifest themselves in as little as a few hours or take months to become evident. This unpredictability makes it difficult to determine which newborns may face the most risks for serious brain injury and makes it difficult to identify the best treatment options for treating the injury.
A birth injury to a baby is devastating to the lives of parents and other members of the family. When this type of injuryoccurs, it becomes necessary to prove negligence on the part of one or more medical professionals involved with the birth for parents to receive the compensation the baby may need for medical and living expenses. Parents who feel an injury happened to their newborn at birth due to hospital care that was lower than acceptable standards may improve their chances of receiving compensation through consultation with a medical malpractice attorney.