Preventing brain damage in babies.

In Brain Disorders, Brain Science by Brainy Days Ahead

As many as 800,000 babies die each year when blood and oxygen stop flowing to the brain around the time of birth. Thousands more develop brain damage that causes long-lasting mental or physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy. In January, 2017, a U.S. study will start testing whether the hormone erythropoietin, or EPO, can prevent brain damage hours after birth when combined with hypothermia, in which babies are cooled to 33.5 °C. A trial in Australia is already testing this treatment. Neurologists at the University of California, San Francisco, will conduct the U.S. trial involving 500 babies at risk of brain injury from 17 hospitals across the United States during their first 24 hours of life. All the babies will be treated with hypothermia. Half will then receive five doses of EPO over seven days; the other half will get saline injections. The $10-million trial will measure whether the hormone boosts the children’s mental and physical health at 2 years of age. Good luck to these researchers.