HUDSON DAVID MCNEEL FOUNDATION – OCTOBER MONTHLY FEATURE
The 3rd trimester of gestation is a period of intense growth and development for the fetal central nervous system. When a baby is born premature, it can disrupt this delicate process and lead to many complications such as an ischemic stroke, subarachnoid hemorrhage, a subdural hematoma, intracranial hemorrhage, traumatic brain injury and much more.
Patients with damage to their nervous system differ in many ways as compared to patients with damage to other areas of their body. For example, diseases resulting from complications to the nervous system can have a long-term effect on the patient’s ability to move and communicate.
Although modern medicine allows for much higher survival rates for extremely low birth weight premature infancies and term infants that have suffered brain injury, many are left with severe limitations of their full neurodevelopmental potential. 60,000 of very preterm infants born each year in the US, 10% will develop cerebral palsy and 50% will have learning and behavioral problems. The enormity of this is magnified when these disabilities are projected over the lifetime of the child as he/she grows up. These outcomes are potentially reversible with improved care and neuroproductive strategies.
The Neurosciences Intensive Care Nursey (NICN) at the University of Washington Medical Center is being developed to address the rising problem of newborn neurological injuries leading to neurodevelopmental disabilities and cerebral palsy. The NICN’s mission is to revolution the understanding and approach to infants at a stage in development when the brain is most vulnerable, and to improve therapies and outcomes for children affected by these disorders.
The NICN will be a unique and specialized clinical unit, bringing together multidisciplinary specialists focused on optimizing clinical protocols for the care of infants at risk for neurological injury. The NICN will serve as a platform for ongoing clinical research studies demonstrating that they can improve standards of care in the fields of Neonatology and Pediatric Neurology with improved outcomes.