After a clinical trial testing 500 babies, tech companies are increasingly interested in a new computer program designed to detect seizures in newborns. The study, Algorithm for Neonatal Seizure Recognition, uses a first-of-its-kind algorithm to monitor infants’ electrical brain activity. Carried out by Prof. Geraldine Boylan, director of the INFANT Centre in Ireland and professor of neonatal physiology at University College Cork, the two-year trial studied the brain waves of babies at high risk for seizure after a difficult birth or suffering hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a brain injury that occurs due to a lack of blood and oxygen.
Prof. Boylan noted that seizures are difficult to detect in babies since they often do not exhibit any visible signs. The algorithm’s constant cot-side monitoring, however, picks up seizure activity as it is occurring, allowing for “limitless opportunities to support our work in the area of neonatal research, monitoring and neuroprotection for babies,” Prof. Boylan said. Preliminary findings were presented at the Brain Monitoring and Neuroprotection in the Newborn conference in Killarney in early October 2017.
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