Shrinking Tech to Save Newborn Lives

London, A ground breaking prototype ‘miniature’ MRI scanner for babies has been installed at The Jessop Wing Maternity Hospital in Sheffield.

The scanner, which is one of only two in the world, is part of a two-year research project into the feasibility and benefits of scanning babies in the neonatal unit.

Professors at the University of Sheffield have been working on the concept and design of the scanner for 12 years. The scanner is considerably smaller than a standard MRI scanner, meaning it can be situated within or close to a neonatal unit, and allow new-born babies to be scanned without having to be moved to another part of a building or even another hospital.

This means scans can be performed more quickly and the risks and difficulties associated with moving vulnerable babies are dramatically reduced.

The MRI images provide more detailed clinical information than a bedside ultrasound scan. Professor Griffiths, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease, said: “Babies, particularly those with brain problems, are unstable � they can stop breathing or their blood pressure can change in an unpredictable way.

“The MR images themselves provide a more detailed image and can help offer a more accurate diagnosis. The motivation to keep going with this project is a belief that at the end we will have something that is better for babies with these types of brain problems”.

The technology was used so far with about 40 children, including a girl named Alice – Rose, who was immaturely born and in her sixth month, and was suffering from brain bleeding. Her parents stated the new scanner was very useful for their baby daughter.

Source: Qatar News Agency