Researchers at Children’s National Health Center and Drexel University College conducted the first study of a promising treatment to reduce or prevent hypoxia-ischemia, a serious complication of oxygen deprivation resulting in brain injury to newborns.
Newborn brain injury resulting from the impaired flow of oxygen can result in adverse effects that can be life altering and range from mild to severe. The affects may be minor, such as learning disabilities, to cataclysmic, including the inability to speak, walk, talk, see or even breathe. The complications can occur from a variety of issues during, before or immediately after birth. Maternal or placental problems such as cord prolapse or placental abruption, fetal or newborn issues such as labor asphyxia or labor difficulties, infection, fetal-maternal bleeding or twin-to-twin transfusion are some of the causes of hypoxia-ischemia.
The study, published in Neonatology on Oct. 13, 2017, focused on newborn experimental models exposed to hypoxia-ischemia. The subjects were treated with therapeutic hypothermia, (standard cooling therapy) alone and in combination with a selective Src kinase inhibitor, PP2 that inhibits the intensification of a regulatory enzyme of apoptosis, or cell death, which occurs from hypoxia-ischemia. The Food and Drug Administration, has previously approved an Src kinase inhibitor as an oncology treatment. This is the first study of the benefits of blocking this enzyme to reduce the neurological damage caused by hypoxia-ischemia.
“In hypoxia-ischemia, CaM kinase is over-activated, but hypothermia has been shown to decrease this enzyme’s activation. We theorized that a Src kinase inhibitor, in addition to hypothermia, would further attenuate the activation of CaM kinase IV and that the result might be less brain damage,” explained Panagiotis Kratimenos, M.D., Ph.D., the study’s lead author, and a specialist in neonatology and neonatal neurocritical care at Children’s National. “From this study, we were pleased that this seems to be the case.”
The research team evaluated all neuropathology, adenosine triphosphate, phosphocreatine concentrations and CaM kinase IV. They concluded that the hypothermia alone attenuated the over-activation of CaM kinase and improved neuropathology following hypoxia. But, combining hypothermia with Src kinase inhibition following hypoxia further attenuated the increased activation of CaM kinase IV as opposed to hypothermia alone in the brain of the experimental model.
Dr. Kratimenos, who is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, envisions studying the effect of other types of small molecule inhibitors, in possible multiple doses, to target the apoplectic cascade and eliminate the potential side effects, while determining the best dose and treatment duration.
“In oxygen deprivation of the brain, the pathways leading to cell death are over activated, including the nuclear enzyme CaM kinase IV. We sought to intervene in this pathway to reduce the heightened cell death which leads to brain damage,” Dr. Kratimenos said. “If confirmed by further studies, this approach – in combination with cooling – may help to further attenuate neurological damage that babies suffer after experiencing hypoxia-ischemia.”
Are You the Parent of a Brain Injured Newborn?
An infant diagnosed with brain damage at birth is one of the most heartbreaking events that parents and the entire family can experience. The parents in these cases must retain the services of an experienced brain injury attorney. The attorney can determine if the infant brain damage occurred during birth or the perinatal period and whether or not is was avoidable.
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a serious brain injury that is caused by oxygen deprivation. A study published by the British Medical Journal in 2003, known as the Lancet Report, revealed that neonatal injuries, seizures or both, barring any congenital defects or existing syndromes were, in 90 percent of occurrences, the result of an avoidable perinatal event.
A brain injury attorney can check to determine exactly when the injuries occurred by the following:
· The Presence of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy – If this was evident at the time of birth, or shortly following, it indicates the injury occurred perinatally.
· Fetal Heart Tracings – Known as bradycardia, where the heart rate suddenly drops below 110 beats per minute, this is a perinatal event that may have led to brain injury. This can also be indicated by progressively slow heart rate.
· Blood Gas Testing
· Radiological Imagery
· Seizures – A record of seizures that occurred early after birth.
The attorney must rule out any trauma, infections, genetic disorders coagulation disorders or genetic history causing a predisposition to HIE. He must also rule out any injury or severe illness to the mother.
In cases of perinatal injury causing palsy or any other life altering consequences, having the best possible brain injury attorney is crucial. The child may reach adulthood and never be independent of the parents requiring perpetual care and supervision. The child may require being placed in a group home or other institution for life.
If you have a child that suffered from a birth related injury, contact an experienced brain injury attorney and medical malpractice attorney at Vititoe Law Group. You could be entitled to the maximum settlement for your financial and emotional suffering and the diminished quality of life for you and your child. Our attorney will know the pain you bear now and in the future. Reach out to Vititoe Law Group today for a free evaluation of your case.