Professor Bass, who pioneered the research on head cooling therapy for brain damaged babies, has uncovered a way to measure the brain's temperature externally. The device that is only as big as a poker chip just rests on a patient's head. The chip detects microwave emissions produced by human tissues such as the brain. As tissue temperature rises, the emissions grow more intense. It is suggested that an injured brain can be significantly warmer than the rest of the body, signaling that the head needs to be cooled as soon as possible to prevent further brain damage.
In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a head-cooling cap that could reduce the amount of brain damage in newborns that were deprived of oxygen during labor or delivery. The Philadelphia Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) was one of the pioneering neonatal intensive care units to start using head cooling in newborns to help minimize the amount of brain damage.
A lack of oxygen to a baby during labor or delivery can destroy an infant's brain cells. However, it is not just the initial insult to the brain that destroys a newborn's brain cells. After the initial lack of oxygen or hypoxic insult, the baby's brain will then start to get the much needed oxygen it needs. During the reperfusion period, due to the sudden influx of blood and oxygen to the brain, additional brain cells could be damaged. Head cooling appears to halt the additional damage that can occur once blood and oxygen is restored to the brain. For years, it has been known that deep hypothermia (a lower body temperature) or cooling of the brain provides protection of the brain during open heart surgery, cardiac arrest, drownings or neurosurgical procedures. If you think about it, this is probably how black bears can survive harsh winters. The cold temperatures help to protect their brains while they are in hibernation.
This new brain temperature measuring device can prove to be very beneficial in other traumatic brain injury accidents. Not only will an increase in brain temperature be detected earlier indicating that there is a problem, it is also a non-invasive monitoring system. Since there is no break in the skin or skull, the risk of a hospital acquired infection is dramatically reduced.
Since 1958, our nationally known catastrophic injury law firm has been successfully litigating traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases with documented results. Our law firm is a nationally recognized catastrophic injury and wrongful death law firm that has awarded over $2 billion for our clients. In addition to our experienced attorneys, we also have on staff two physicians and four registered nurses. Our collective knowledge assisted in obtaining two of the largest medical negligence verdicts in Pennsylvania history, $100 million and $55 million, as well as countless other multi-million dollar judgments and settlements.
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