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Preterm Babies Benefited from a New NI Spectroscopy

Researchers at the Monash Institute of Medical Research (MIMR) have developed a new machine, named near-infrared spectroscopy, which allowed scientists// to monitor preterm babies constantly.

Although it was the first of its kind in Australia, helped doctors to monitor continuously, the fluctuating BP and brain oxygen levels of a preterm babies.

Scientists at the Monash Institute of Medical Research (MIMR) are carrying out studies to understand the relationship between blood pressure and the amount of oxygen in a preterm baby's brain.

‘Many preterm babies suffer from low blood pressure, which reduces the oxygen supply to their brain,’ said neonataologist and MIMR PhD student, Dr Flora Wong. ‘This makes them much more vulnerable to a range of neurological problems such as cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, low IQ levels and hyperactivity.’

‘In healthy, full-term babies, a drop in blood pressure would generally not have such serious consequences, as these babies appear to 'auto-regulate' blood and oxygen flow in the brain. Working with the Monash Medical Centre's Newborn Services team, we're investigating to what extent the immature brain of a preterm baby is able - or unable - to carry out this key process,’ Dr Wong said.

A machine, called a near-infrared spectroscopy, provides brain oxygen levels in preterm babies. Dr Wong and the MIMR team are the first in Australia to have access to the newly-developed machine, which, for the first time, allows scientists to monitor preterm babies continuously, and at the baby's bedside.

‘Our new near-infrared spectroscopy is a huge advantage for our research. As blood pressure is a constantly-changing, dynamic process, it is vital for us to be able to monitor the changes in brain oxygen levels continuously. With the machine we were using up until now, there was a high risk we were missing some of the minute fluctuations that can have serious implications for preterm
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