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Home / Blog / Can a New Blood Test Diagnose Newborn Brain Damage?

Can a New Blood Test Diagnose Newborn Brain Damage?Medical malpractice during and immediately after delivery can be due to many different causes, including the failure to properly diagnose and resolve medical issues during the baby’s birth. If the obstetrician or other medical professional fail to recognize and treat medical complications in a timely manner, they may be liable for the injuries or deaths their medical malpractice causes. Medical malpractice during the delivery can result in birth brain injuries such as cerebral palsy which can last a lifetime.

One new diagnostic test which aims to diagnose birth brain damage is showing promise. According to Science Daily, the Imperial College of London and researchers in the US, Italy, and India recently published their findings in the journal Scientific Reports. The findings review a prototype blood test can “detect which babies deprived of oxygen at birth are at risk of serious neuro-disabilities like cerebral palsy and epilepsy.”

The new test looks to determine if specific genes “linked to long-term neurological issues” are being switched on and off. Additional studies hope to show if these targeted genes can be used to treat brain damage so that the damage doesn’t become permanent.

The study was performed in hospitals in India. In India, there are hundreds of thousands of cases of oxygen deprivation at birth – each year. The lack of proper oxygen during birth may be due to:

  • A mother who doesn’t have enough oxygen in her blood
  • An infection
  • Umbilical cord complications
  • Birth related trauma
  • Delay in accomplishing delivery

If the baby’s brain doesn’t have enough oxygen during the hours prior to or after birth, it can lead to conditions like epilepsy, cerebral palsy, blindness, or deafness. Because of the delay in medical diagnosis, doctors can’t easily determine which interventions to use to address birth complications.

How the test was conducted

The study examined 45 newborns who experienced oxygen deprivation at birth. The researchers took blood from the babies within 6 hours after birth and then studied them 18 months later to see which infants had neuro-disabilities. Researchers were about to identify 885 genes which showed differences. Two genes showed major differences.

The lead doctor in the study sated that early intervention is “key to preventing the worst outcomes in babies following oxygen deprivation, but knowing which babies need this help, and how best to help them, remains a challenge.”

At Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, our New Jersey birth injury lawyers work with neurosurgeons, neurologists, and other specialists to help verify the birth doctors and birth hospital committed medical malpractice. When doctors commit medical mistakes, we seek compensation for the long-term medical care your child will need, the baby’s pain and suffering, and the loss of the enjoyment of life’s pleasures due to cerebral palsy and other birth injuries. For help obtaining justice for your child, call us at 732-777-0100 or leave us a message through our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River.