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Researchers develop device to measure brain temperature non-invasively
Date:5/2/2011

DENVER, CO Doctors have long sought a way to directly measure the brain's temperature without inserting a probe through the skull. Now researchers have developed a way to get the brain's precise temperature with a device the diameter of a poker-chip that rests on a patient's head, according to findings presented May 1 at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Denver.

"This is the first time that anyone has presented data on the brain temperature of a human obtained non-invasively," said principal researcher Dr, Thomas Bass, a neonatologist at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters in Norfolk, Va., and a professor of pediatrics at the hospital's academic partner, Eastern Virginia Medical School.

The research also suggests that an injured brain can be significantly warmer than the body, a finding critical to cooling therapies that reduce brain damage in everyone from elderly heart attack victims to hypoxic newborns.

"Knowing the actual brain temperature may allow us to improve outcomes by keeping the brain at an optimum temperature," said Dr. Bass.

With the help of a $750,000 National Institutes of Health grant, a research team led by Dr. Bass adapted an instrument that calculates temperatures by detecting microwave emissions produced by all human tissue.

Those microwaves pass unimpeded through the skull, like light passing through a sheet of glass. As tissue temperatures increase, the emissions grow more intense. Engineers calibrated the device to measure the temperature of brain tissue 1.5 centimeters beneath the skull.

In the trial whose results were presented, the device was placed on the heads of infants undergoing cooling therapy at CHKD. The device's brain temperature readings were correlated with rectal and esophageal temperatures. The difference in temperature between the brain and the body recorded by other means was as high as 5.4% Fahrenheit.

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Contact: Greg Raver-Lampman
757-668-7554
Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters
Source:Eurekalert

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