According to Professor Nadia Badawi of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, four out of every 1,000 full term babies suffer from “a brain insult.” This can cause everything from a lack of oxygen to restricted growth, and the years ahead are often uncertain and full of uncertain hurdles, including the death of brain cells. The rapid death of these cells can lead to the release of toxic substances to the brain, which can cause a multitude of problems.
But thanks to a breakthrough cooling treatment, not every baby suffers from life-long complications.
“For every six babies that receive this cooling, one baby will be spared from either dying or developing cerebral palsy,” Professor Badawi told Daily Telegraph Australia. “International researchers are now trying to answer the question of what can we do for the other five out of six babies.”
Baby Mila was one of the lucky ones.
Born breech, baby Mila’s umbilical cord was wrapped twice around her neck. Doctors expected her to suffer from brain damage, if she survived. But someone came up with the idea of using the cooling treatment on her. It was that treatment that saved her from death and all signs of brain injury.
Within six hours of birth, doctors brought Mila’s core body temperature to 33-34 degrees. This staved off seizures and the death of brain cells. After three days, they slowly warmed her body up to 37 degrees. It was during that warming process that her mother, Nejka McGeachie, was certain her daughter would pull through.
“The cooling gave us hope when we didn’t have much left,” she told Daily Telegraph Australia. “The cooling has no side effects but slows down the metabolism and lets her brain recover.”
And recover she did. According to Nejka, Mila is now 10 weeks and “considered a normal baby.”
Though the treatment may not work for every baby, it is a treatment that gives some parents and children a chance at a healthy future. We’re happy to hear that baby Mila was one of them. Maybe eventually, doctors will come up with a treatment that will help more babies born with complications like hers.
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