A new research study describes an innovative blood test that could significantly improve the diagnosis and treatment of infant brain damage. As published in the August 2020 issue of the journal Scientific Reports, the scientists from Imperial College London found that the screening could potentially detect conditions such as blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy and epilepsy within hours of birth.
Learn about the implications of this research study for infants who experience oxygen deprivation during birth, which can potentially cause wide-ranging disability.
About the research
The research team focused on 45 newborns who did not get enough oxygen at birth. The scientists drew blood from the infants at six hours after birth and again at 18 months old, examining the samples to look at gene sequencing differences that could indicate a disability.
The samples displayed 855 genes that displayed varying expression at birth and at 18 months. Further research will delve into two genes that showed the most significant variances. Scientists hope to find ways to disrupt these changes and prevent the neurodisabilities that can arise months or even years after oxygen deprivation at birth.
When a child develops disabilities related to a birth injury, the family may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to cover health care expenses and other associated costs. The plaintiff in this type of lawsuit must be able to show that the health care provider failed to act with the duty of care a reasonable person would expect. The family must file a medical malpractice lawsuit within a year of the relevant diagnosis and no more than four years after the birth.