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Blood-flow detector software show promise in preventing brain damage
Date:8/31/2007

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Childrens Center and Cambridge University in England have designed an automated means of continuously tracking potentially dangerous changes in blood flow to the brain in real time, a system that shows promise for preventing brain damage and death in children with head injuries.

A report on the work, including results of preliminary testing in baby pigs, will appear in the October issue of Stroke. Brain trauma is a top killer of children in the United States, with some 475,000 children suffering brain injuries each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. More tests are needed, but we have demonstrated the value of gathering much more detailed information over time about what safe levels of pressure and oxygen are in children, says Ken Brady, M.D., a critical-care specialist at the Childrens Center who led the study. Despite our ability to monitor pressure and oxygen levels, we have desperately needed more information about what are optimal levels for damage prevention in children, Brady says. Not knowing that is much like flying a plane in a fog, but this new software is helping us map safe terrain and danger zones in blood pressure.

Healthy brains regulate blood flow and oxygen levels during drops and spikes in blood pressure, but injured brains may lose this fail-safe mechanism, leading to oxygen starvation and permanent brain damage. Although monitors have long been able to track blood pressure and blood flow to the brain, the Hopkins-Cambridge team created a system that for the first time precisely determines the breakpoint at which the brain begins to lose its ability to cope with changes in blood pressure.

The software does this, researchers say, by gauging minute shifts in blood pressure and oxygenation every 60 seconds and alerting doctors when they approach critical levels. Using a software program developed by two Cambridge scientists, Hopkins doctors fed data into a computer
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Contact: Kim Martin
kmartin7@jhmi.edu
410-516-4958
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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