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Some post-birth injuries could be prevented with new invention

Each year in New York hospitals, thousands of babies are born with serious medical conditions and/or complications. Sometimes, babies sustain injuries in the womb or during the process of delivery. Other times, however, subsequent surgical errors or complications can lead to other life-threatening medical issues. While it's still in the early stages of development, a new medical device may help to prevent some brain and birth injury cases.

Researchers with the Johns Hopkins Children's Center are currently in the process of patenting and promoting a biosensor intended to detect a particular protein linked with brain injuries. In fact, the pediatric cardiologist partially responsible for developing the new device believes that it can have a far-reaching impact on preventing and treating brain injuries in babies and other heart surgery patients.

It’s estimated that close to half of pediatric patients show signs of brain injury after undergoing heart surgery. The surgery itself and recovery process can lead to stroke incidents and other serious medical conditions. The consequences of which can affect children all through their mental development. Brain injuries are currently difficult to detect and treat in young children, and therefore may go unaddressed for years.

That is why a pediatric cardiologist with Johns Hopkins began developing a biosensor to identify a specific protein present in brain injuries. The cardiologist approached a member of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering to create a device that would immediately alert surgeons of the protein in patients during surgery, potentially allowing for instant treatment.

So far, the device appears to be the most sensitive of its kind, and doctors hope that it may one day help to prevent and treat brain injuries of all kinds.

Source: esciencenews.com, “Biosensor could help detect brain injuries during heart surgery,” Nov. 11, 2013

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