Scientists have recently developed a blood test to detect babies whose brains suffer from less than optimum oxygen supply during birth. The prototype examination is established on a research of the blood specimens of 45 babies that suffered oxygen poverty at birth, commonly known as birth asphyxia. Birth asphyxia heightens the risk of abnormalities such as cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
Researchers observed 855 genes in babies that arise and alternate in the disabled neurological process. These genes; especially two of them indicated ‘significant’ variations by causing oxygen-deprivation in newborns. They are mostly involved in developing neuro disabilities.
Hypoxia Affects Newborns
Previous research had organized this procedure to avoid long-term brain injury affected by the absence of oxygen. It is found that oxygen deprivation is the most familiar cause of death and neurodisability in newborn babies. It generally affects 2 to 3 per 1,000 births in high-income countries and 10 to 20 per 1,000 births in low and middle countries.
According to research, there appears up to one million cases of birth asphyxia per year. Birth asphyxia is caused by many factors, including insufficient oxygen amount in the mother’s blood due to some problems and ineffective relaxation of the uterus during baby birth. This resists oxygen transport to the placenta which supplies oxygen and nutrients to the fetus. Oxygen deprivation at birth causes brain injury that affects several areas of the brain.
This situation results in a variety of possible neuro disabilities. Researchers analyzed that babies possessing unfavorable neuro-developmental problems contain a different gene of expression at birth.
Alternating Gene Expression Leads to Neuro disabilities
Blood specimens were analyzed to discover any variation in gene manner between the babies that evolved neuro disabilities. The team found 855 genes were communicated differently, especially two protein-coding genes named RGS1 and SMC4 indicated a considerable difference.
Assessing these two genes and their expression helped to understand the causes of neuro disabilities which is caused by birth asphyxia. The team assessed gene manner within six hours after childbirth and noticed that gene expressions change over time.
Impact of Hypothermia
The research was also performed in low and middle-income countries. The trial assessed the use of hypothermia on babies to avoid brain damages caused by oxygen deprivation. It was observed that cooling the baby’s body and brain temperature can alter chemical procedures in the brain and can lessen the danger of brain damage. However, despite providing severe cooling, 30 percent of babies still showed bad neurological outcomes. Such consequences arise the need for new treatments.