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Recent Advancements Support Early Detection of Newborn Brain Trauma

Possibly the most devastating news new parents will ever receive is a diagnosis that their infant suffered head injuries or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Various factors during gestation, during labor, and shortly after delivery can lead to serious, life-long medical conditions, including cerebral palsy, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), or cognitive disorders. At such an early age, your newborn baby needs immediate and potentially extensive treatment. Limitations have impeded such efforts in the past, but a recently developed technology known as Magnetic Resonance (MR) Spectroscopy offers new hope for parents: This new scan could lead to detection of brain trauma in infants up to two years earlier than currently employed methods. 

Though the MR spectroscopy cannot reverse the damage, it can inform physicians and parents regarding a life care plan for the child. In addition, the technology can be useful when you are seeking your legal remedies through a medical malpractice claim. You should discuss your options with a Miami birth injuries lawyer, but an overview of this brain scan may be useful.

Key Findings on Detecting Brain Trauma in Infants

Researchers from the US and UK conducted a study to determine how MR spectroscopy may improve insights into how brain trauma affects infants. The technology is a scan that focuses on the thalamus, the region of the brain that controls the baby’s movement; this section is also the one that most often sustains trauma when the infant suffers from oxygen deprivation. The MR spectroscopy detects a specific compound that indicates a healthy brain. When levels fall below 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, this indicates brain damage.

Current Landscape on Screenings for Brain Damage in Newborns

The MR spectroscopy scan takes just 15 minutes and can be performed when the baby is just two weeks old. Unfortunately, the technology is not widely available, so health care providers must rely on MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds, and other screenings to detect possible brain damage in infants. When a baby is deprived of oxygen due to birth injuries, the affected area of the brain appears lighter in color through these exams.

However, these methods have an effectiveness range from 60 to 85%; in other words, the margin of error could be up to 40% – a factor that primarily depends upon the radiologist reviewing the scans. As a result, parents must often wait for accurate, reliable information on their baby’s condition as he or she develops. It is usually not until the child reaches two years old that healthcare professionals make a credible assessment of brain damage, based upon walking, talking, and other milestones.

Contact Our Miami Birth Injuries Attorney With Questions

MR spectroscopy is a promising development for detecting brain trauma in infants, both for purposes of future health care and establishing proof in a birth injuries case. For more information, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA to schedule a free case evaluation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL. One of our birth injuries lawyers can explain your remedies after assessing the details of your case.

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