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European Organizations Join Forces on BabyLux Project

BERLIN, BARCELONA, Spain, and MILAN, Feb. 19, 2014 — Several organizations from Italy, Spain, Germany and Denmark have come together with the common goal of reducing the risk of brain damage in premature babies from 25 to 20 percent.

The BabyLux initiative, funded in part by the European Commission under the ICT Policy Support Programme as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Program, involves the development of an optical neuromonitor that will control the oxygenation of a baby’s brain with a high level of accuracy. This neuromonitor is based on the measurement of optical signals using NIR spectroscopy.

PicoQuant, a partner organization and specialist in single-photon-counting devices, will provide the core optoelectronic components to develop the instrument. Joining PicoQuant on the project is Politecnico di Milano, Fondazione Politecnico di Milano, Institute of Photonic Sciences, Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology, Hemophotonics SL, Competitive Network SL, and Fondazione IRCCS Ca ' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico.

The new neuromonitor will enable neonatologists to measure blood flow to the baby’s brain and its oxygenation noninvasively. It will allow physicians to intervene promptly so as to avoid serious clinical complications leading to brain damage, permanent physical damage or cognitive disabilities. Measurements with the device can be performed quickly and repeatedly if the condition is critical.

Researchers said that reducing the risk of brain damage in extremely preterm babies could eventually decrease the number of children in Europe with disabilities by more than 1000 per year.

“Our goal is to fill a void in the neonatal intensive care, where there aren’t any reliable tools to assess the brain blood flow and oxygenation in infants born prematurely,” said project coordinator Alessandro Torricelli, an associate professor of physics at Politecnico di Milano.

The World Health Organization’s Global Action Report, published in 2012, states that about 15 million births each year are preterm, with more than 1 million of those resulting in complications. One in four babies born prematurely grows up with some kind of disability, mainly due to brain injury. The BabyLux initiative aims to help alleviate this problem.

For more information, visit www.picoquant.com.


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