A new study suggests a medical therapy known as "cooling" can help full-term infants born with low flow of oxygen and blood to the brain. This condition is thought to occur in about 1 out of every one-thousand babies born in the United States. Cooling is thought to be one way to protect the brain.
Doctors in this study used an infant blanket connected to a cooling system. Dr. Seetha Shankaran is Director of Neonatal and Perinatal Medicine at Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit and the lead author of the study.
She says infants with this condition who received cooling during their first 3 days of life had better outcomes at seven years of age compared to those who were not cooled.
"This new study is really reassuring because it has shown both the safety and the efficacy of cooling carried out from the intervention up to seven years of age. The mortality rate was lower in the hypothermia group and what was extremely encouraging was that there was no increase in disabilities."
She says that these results reassure doctors that currently use cooling, but more work needs to be done.
Cooling can cost about $6000 and requires close monitoring at specialized childrens' hospitals.
-Nishant Sekaran, Michigan Radio Newsroom