Babies can sustain brain injury for many reasons, including a shortage of oxygen at around the time of birth. Babies with serious brain injury can die, and survivors can be left with a permanent disability, such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy or learning difficulties. It is very difficult to gauge the severity of the injury by simple observation of the baby. Monitoring the electrical activity of the brain provides useful information about the severity of the injury, the cause, and what the outcome is likely to be. Treatment, such as whole body cooling, helps to improve outcome, if applied in time.
The aim of this research is to develop a ‘smart’ automated system which recognizes patterns in electrical brain activity. This will accurately detect the severity of brain injury, allowing babies to be identified early and the appropriate therapies monitored and tailored to the needs of each individual case.