Brain Activity Recordings Predict Developmental Risk in Preterm Infants

Prof. Michael Breakspear MB BS, Ba(Hons), Bsc(Med), PhD QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute Royal Brisbane HospitalMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Michael Breakspear MB BS, Ba(Hons), Bsc(Med), PhD
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
Royal Brisbane Hospital

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Prof. Breakspear: The first 72 hours following complicated full-term or premature delivery of a newborn represents a critical window in which survival and long term brain development hangs in the balance. During this window of time, there does not currently exist a reliable, non-invasive, real-time measure of neuropathology that provides neurologists and neonatologists prognostic indicators of clinical outcome. We developed a tool that draws on techniques in physics used to characterize naturally occurring phenomena, such as earthquakes and avalanches, to analyze brain activity recordings of preterm infants. Our tool allows early identification of preterm infants at significant risk of developing poor long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes, such as cerebral palsy and learning difficulties at two years of age.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Prof. Breakspear: Our assessment of cortical burst dynamics from brain activity recordings produces clinically novel markers of neurodevelopment within the first hours of life. This tool enables an automated analysis of short recordings, rather than a continuous, time consuming visual assessment. This allows clinicians to have prognostic markers of brain activity immediately at hand, which may in turn accelerate treatment and management of at-risk newborns.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Prof. Breakspear: This tool would be very useful for prognostic purposes during bedside monitoring in neonatal intensive care. Future research should consider prospective studies which assess the real-time application of the tool in combination with other vital monitoring, such as cardiorespiratory measurements and ventilation.

Citation:

Cortical burst dynamics predict clinical outcome early in extremely preterm infants
Kartik K. Iyer , James A. Roberts , Lena Hellström-Westas , Sverre Wikström , Ingrid Hansen Pupp , David Ley , Sampsa Vanhatalo , Michael Breakspear

Brain DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awv129
First published online: 23 May 2015

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Prof. Michael Breakspear MB BS, Ba(Hons), Bsc(Med), PhD, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, & Royal Brisbane Hospital (2015). Brain Activity Recordings Predict Developmental Risk in Preterm Infants MedicalResearch.com