Newborn Brain Audioscope

Organization: 
Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research, University College Cork
Organization Location: 
Wilton, Cork, Ireland

Neurological problems are more likely to happen in the early neonatal period than at any other time of life. Yet this is the exact period when you are least likely to have any brain monitoring. Eighty five per cent of neonatal deaths worldwide occurred in developing countries with neonatal encephalopathy due to the birth asphyxia being one of the major causes of high child mortality. The lack of brain monitoring in developing world is driven by a high cost of EEG machines, the time and skills needed to acquire the EEG signals and most importantly the lack of expertise in interpreting neonatal EEG. The aim of the proposed research is to fill the gap in newborn EEG monitoring and interpretation by developing a low-cost brain 'stethoscope' which could be just as routinely used to monitor cerebral function as a conventional stethoscope is used to monitor heart and respiration. We will develop a little sensor pad that can be easily applied and re-applied to any area of the baby’s head. The acquired EEG signal will be converted into audio that will be played through the headphone and analysed by the doctor’s hearing system (http://youtu.be/IQqNELoDwkI). The development of a portable and easily accessible device to assess baby's brain functioning may revolutionise neurocritical care of newborns in resource limited settings in developing countries.

See video