In Milan, Italy’s Mangiagalli Hospital, researchers are testing out a new monitoring technology designed to protect premature babies’ most critical organs – their brains.  The Babylux project (coordinated across nine institutes across Europe and conducted in hospitals in both Milan and Copenhagen) seeks to make sure that baby’s brains are carefully monitored to make sure they’re getting enough blood and oxygen. This helps to provide better care and reduce the risks of birth injury and disabilities as these infants grow.

According to Monica Fumagalli, a neonatal specialist at the Mangiagalli hospital, “This highly sophisticated technology actually consists of a light that comes out of these emitters…The probe is simply placed on the newborn’s head. We cover up the eyes, but the instrument is programmed to be absolutely safe for the newborn.”

The prototype model provides real-time, accurate measures of how well blood and oxygen are flowing to the brain, but also does so non-invasively, a critical feature for making sure fragile patients aren’t further disturbed during their NICU stay. According to Fumagalli, “Entering a neonatal intensive unit is extremely stressful for parents. The goal for us is to find a balance between technology that can change the diagnosis for these babies, without disturbing them.”

According to Alessandro Torricelli, physicist at the Polytechnic University of Milan, “This technique complements magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It provides the same information but with a much more compact technology, that is cheaper and that you can bring right next to the baby’s cot, or the patient’s bed…The hope for this project is to pave the way to have this instrument on the market in three to five years, to provide neonatologists and hospitals in Europe – and around the world – with a tool to closely monitor the health of premature babies.”

Results from studies of this new monitoring device are expected within the next few months.


Share this:

Leave a Reply