In the past few years, researchers at the University of Helsinki have made several breakthroughs in discovering how the brain of preterm babies work, in developing treatments to protect the brain, and in developing research methods suitable for hospital use.
Each year, the brains of hundreds of Finnish children, and therefore their future lives, are at risk due to premature birth or intrapartum asphyxia. The brain is a sensitive organ, and merely keeping the baby alive is not enough to save the brain. The latest scientific achievements offer significant improvements in the brain health and lives of infants.
"When developing brain treatment, a key challenge is to find ways to study and monitor the well-being of the brain in the neonatal intensive care unit environment," says Sampsa Vanhatalo, Docent of Pediatric Clinical Neurophysiology.
The R & D work carried out in the basic neurobiology laboratory in the University of Helsinki has provided a whole new level of insight into the electrical activity of the brain in newborns. Now we know that many previously unexplained brain events seen in an EEG are essential for the development and maturation of the brain in premature babies, Dr. Vanhatalo states.
These findings have provided an opportunity to develop monitoring devices to monitor the well-being of infant brains during ICU treatment. The University of Helsinki and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Children's Hospital, Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH) have attracted considerable international attention for their novel EEG techniques that enable exceptionally precise measurement of EEG in premature infants.
"These dense array EEG caps and the related full-band EEG (FbEEG) that we have developed have disclosed crucial forms of newborn brain activity that have so far been overlooked. We have also developed a method to study sensory functions of premature babies when the tracts are still in the proce
|Contact: Dr. Sampsa Vanhatalo|
University of Helsinki