A new study set for publication in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that a simple device can help doctors stop injuries that infants sometimes suffer because of a lack of oxygen flow to the brain.
According to the study, the use of cooling blankets to lower a newborn's temperature for 72 hours after birth can help combat damage to the brain - sometimes resulting in cerebral palsy, lowered IQ and other problems - stemming from an interruption of oxygen flow during birth. Researchers found that cooling blankets reduced both rates of death and cerebral palsy.
As a result of the study, the use of cooling blankets is now considered standard in treating full-term babies at risk of suffering long-term brain damage due to oxygen deprivation during birth. Even better, it appears as if the technique may prove fruitful for treating other conditions, as well.
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Source: Detroit Free Press, "Chilled blankets can save babies deficient in oxygen at birth, study finds," Patricia Anstett.