In the UK, one in 1,000 babies born at full term suffer brain injury as a result of being severely deprived of oxygen. Subsequently, 70 per cent have either survived with cerebral palsy and or learning disabilities or pass away.
However, Professor Marianne Thoresen has recently discovered that cooling a baby who has suffered a lack of oxygen at birth improves their chance of survival, without causing brain damage in later childhood.
This revolutionary technique has been named by Universities UK as one of the ‘Nation Lifesavers’, the concept involves placing a new-born baby in a cooling jacket with circulating cold water after there has been a lack of oxygen at birth.
Since 2010, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence and the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation has recommended this cooling treatment throughout the developed world. To date, this approach has already saved 1,500 babies from death and disability each year.
Moreover, Professor Thoresen’s research has been named by Universities UK as one of the top 100 individuals or groups based in universities whose work is battling diseases, tackling inequality, helping new parents and children enjoy the best start in life and supporting older people.
Professor Marianne Thoresen, Professor of Neonatal Neuroscience at Bristol Medical School, said: “I am delighted to have my research recognised as one of the ’Nations Lifesavers’.
“This also highlights the pioneering work being carried out by many researchers that is helping make a positive difference to thousands of lives across the world.”
Professor Dame Janet Beer, President of Universities UK, said: “This campaign is a chance to bring to life the wonderful and often unexpected work going on every day in our universities and to celebrate some of the people working to make a life-changing difference to us all.”
“By proudly working in partnership with charities, the NHS and healthcare organisations, universities are responsible for some of our biggest health breakthroughs and in revolutionising the delivery of care.”