Could a blood test help identify brain damage in infants earlier?

Brain injuries tend to be incredibly complex — and the damage from an event isn’t always immediately obvious, especially in children. The key to better treatment and better results often lies in the rapid recognition that an infant suffered brain damage at birth. Therefore, anything that speeds up diagnoses is useful.

Now, scientists indicate that they may be able to detect brain damage in infants due to oxygen deprivation at birth with just a simple blood test. Researchers at Imperial College London, in conjunction with collaborating scientists in the United States, Italy and India, recently published their findings in Scientific Reports.

Researchers studied blood samples taken from infants within six hours of their births and followed up with those infants at the 18-month mark to identify which infants had developed neurological disabilities related to brain damage, like cerebral palsy, blindness and epilepsy. Ultimately, researchers were able to pinpoint 855 genes that were expressed differently between infants with birth-related brain trauma and those without.

Not only does this discovery mean that it may one day be possible to identify brain damage related to oxygen deprivation at birth right away, but it may also lead to better treatments. The better the mechanics of brain injuries are understood, the more likely that researchers will also one day figure out ways to be able to prevent those injuries.

Birth-related brain injuries can turn what should be a joyous event into a somber, upsetting time. If your child suffered an injury due to oxygen deprivation at birth, it’s wise to discuss the situation with an experienced birth injury attorney. Your child may be due compensation that will help provide for their needs for the future.