Therapeutic Bed to Prevent Brain Damage in Premature Babies

The Calmer bed mimics the heartbeat and breathing of a parent to relieve pain in premature babies.

The Calmer bed

Asphyxia at birth is the main cause of brain damage in infants, although there are many other possible causes. Brain damage is a serious health problem, even mild damage can cause lifelong consequences for children.

Scientists believe they're getting a better understanding of why brain disorders are so prevalent in premature infants, and they're suggesting ways to avoid or heal them. 

A new medical device can help by mimicking the heartbeat and breathing of parents. Adults and babies tend to breathe shallowly when under psychological stress. This reduces the amount of air they take in, which in turn reduces the oxygen content in the blood. As a result, less oxygen reaches the brain and causes damage.

The Calmer baby bed is developed by a team at the University of British Columbia in Canada and is designed to be placed in an incubator. When a premature baby is lying on it, the device will rise and fall to simulate the breathing and heartbeat of the parent holding the baby.

In a clinical trial conducted on 49 premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the Women’s Hospital of British Columbia + Health Center. The nursing staff held 27 premature babies and collected blood samples on regular basis. The other 22 babies were placed on the Calmer and the same uncomfortable procedure was performed. Assessments were carried out shortly thereafter, and the blood oxygen levels of the two types of infants were the same, indicating that Calmer was almost as effective as carrying an infant.

It is quite clear that Calmer has the potential to benefit babies whose brains are particularly vulnerable to pain and stress. (Via)

Image credit: (Newatlas)

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