Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Research Offers New Insights into Brain Injury in Newborns

New research by Swedish scientists promises to throw light on the causes of brain damage in newborns, possibly laying the base for the development of techniques to limit brain injury in the future.

Two out of every 1000 babies born will suffer from some extent of brain damage related to birth. This injury can occur either before, during or immediately after birth. In many cases that California brain injury lawyers see, brain injury in a newborn occurs because of oxygen deprivation, either before, during or immediately after birth. This oxygen deprivation, known as hypoxia can result in serious disorders, like cerebral palsy. Children who have suffered brain damage at birth are also at a high risk for epilepsy.

Hypoxia can be the result of complications in maternal blood pressure before birth, delayed cesarean sections, negligence by doctors and health care personnel and other factors.

Now, researchers at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy have found that certain toll-like receptors in the immune system have a significant role to play in the brain development of infants. Researchers used mice in their studies, and simulated the kind of brain injury seen in newborn babies. They found that the receptors increased the likelihood of brain damage. A number of factors can activate the receptors, like an infection. When these receptors are activated, the brain is more sensitive to the effects of the oxygen deprivation, thereby exacerbating the brain injury.

The link between toll-like receptors and brain health has been noticed in earlier studies too. Previous research has shown that these receptors are also activated in adults who suffer from a brain injury after stroke. The researchers at the University of Gothenburg have now found that the same toll-like receptors are found in an immature bra

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