Around 28,000 birth injuries occur each year, and that six to eight out of every 1,000 infants in the country are born with a birth injury.
Major birth injuries may include:
- Facial paralysis
- Spinal cord injury
- Fractured bones
- Bacterial infections
- Brachial plexus damage (nerves that control the arms and hands are damaged)
- Retinopathy of prematurity (usually present in premature babies, abnormal blood vessels are formed in the retina)
A blood test to diagnose any damage to an infant’s brain is currently being tested to save valuable time when treating a birth injury.
The prototype test is being developed by Imperial College London, Indian researchers, and the US. Preliminary results showed the test can identify changes in the gene which may occur because of oxygen deprivation.
Why Newborn Asphyxia Happens
Here are some known causes of asphyxia in newborns:
- Prolonged or difficult deliveries
- Problems with the umbilical cord during labor
- High or low blood pressure in the mother
- Developmental issues
- Placenta separation
Most often than not, when any cause on the list happens during birth, a newborn may not get the oxygen they need. It can cause issues since oxygen is very important for a human body to work.
If oxygen deprivation is minimal, then a full recovery is possible. But with prolonged or severe asphyxia, babies may suffer from permanent damage to their vital organs.
What the Infant Brain Damage Blood Test Can Do
The test was to help identify and resolve the consequences of asphyxia in newborns, and it can do so by examining the blood of the newborns just after birth and checks for any expression of certain genes.
Research in 2020 evaluated the results of 45 infants who experienced newborn asphyxia. Blood testing was for six hours after birth and was examined again after 18 months to check for any neurological disabilities.
In the preliminary review, 855 genes were expressed differently between the kids who developed neurological disabilities and those who did not.
The differences will indicate which newborn may develop neuro disabilities, and it can help future studies into the effect of lack of oxygen in newborn babies.
Even if the tests may help improve results in babies, birth injuries will still lead to difficulties for families. Parents can even take legal action.
Editor’s Note on Infant Brain Damage Blood Test:
This feature is to share the latest blood test that is in-progress for infants regarding brain damage.
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