'Miracle gas' may reduce brain damage in newborn babies
Birth asphyxia occurs in one or two out of 1,000 births in developed countries
Birth asphyxia, where much needed oxygen is needed by babies at birth, often leads to damage. It affects one to two newborn babies out of a 1,000 in developed nations. Now, a "miracle gas," which occurs naturally in the air may help reduce the incidence of brain damage in newborns.
Called Xenon, the gas is already using the gas as an anesthetic. Doctors are now using it in an effort to protect babies starved of oxygen at birth.
In response, Britain's Medical Research Council is funding the world's first trial of its kind into the benefits of xenon on at-risk infants.
Treatment is currently being offered at three London hospitals; University College Hospital, Evelina Children's Hospital and Queen Charlotte's, as well as Liverpool Women's Hospital.
Newborn babies who suffer birth asphyxia risk moderate to severe conditions ranging from learning difficulties to cerebral palsy.
Among the many causes are when the placenta, which provides the fetus with nutrients in the womb comes apart, or when the umbilical cord gets wrapped around the baby's neck and infection.
Until now, doctors have used a technique to cool the body temperature of babies by a few degrees. This is successful in lowering the risk of brain injury in about half of cases. Experts now believe that adding xenon treatment to cooling could double success rates.
Brain cells are extremely sensitive to oxygen deprivation and begin to die rapidly. Inhaled xenon gas treatment is understood to stop areas of the brain "dying" by penetrating the cells and reviving them.
The trial is led by Professor Denis Azzopardi, a pediatric specialist at London's Imperial College. "Birth asphyxia occurs in one or two out of 1,000 deliveries in developed countries and may have lifelong implications for the children and their families," one of colleagues Dr. Andrew Kapetanakis says.
"We are trying to discover if new treatments can be added to cooling to improve outcomes."
The aim is to study at least 70 babies as part of the 18-month trial.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Xenon, birth asphyxia, study, United Kingdom, brain damage
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More U.S. News
- Bridge that collapsed in Washington State was structurally unsound
- Gay youths to be allowed to join Boy Scouts: Controversy rages
- Violent Tsarnev friend killed by FBI after blaming Tamerlan for unsolved murders
- Eric Garcetti becomes Los Angeles' first Jewish mayor
- 12,000 homes damaged or destroyed in Moore, daunting road to recovery underway
- US Supreme Court Accepts Religion Case: Will Legislative Prayer Survive Religious Censorship?
- In the Wake of the Moore Tornado: What Can we Learn from the Disaster?
- Priests for Life: Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act Most Significant Legislative Step Forward
- Homeless man whose face was eaten away in cannibal attack recovering
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?