British physicians recently reported that they were able to prevent a brain injury in an infant by using a rare and expensive inert gas, according to anAssociated Press article. Doctors in Bristol, UK at St. Michael’s Hospital said that they are among the first to use the experimental gas treatment to prevent a brain injury.
A baby boy, Riley Joyce, was born without the ability to breathe or maintain a pulse, and he showed signs of an approaching brain injury. The doctors got him breathing again and restored his pulse, after which they administered xenon gas to cool his brain. While cooling the brain has been shown to help in the prevention of long-term brain damage, lab tests have reportedly demonstrated that the addition of xenon gas can nearly double the protection afforded by cooling, the article said.
One week after the xenon treatment, Riley was fully conscious and able to eat. The doctors plan on using xenon on 12 babies in similar situations before starting a more expansive clinical trial, the article noted.
The professor of neonatal neuroscience at the University of Bristol, Marianne Thoreson, and Dr. John Dingley, consultant anesthetist at Swansea University’s School of Medicine co-developed the technique of using xenon for cooling the brain to prevent brain injury, a BBC News article reported. Dingly created a machine by which micro doses of the extremely rare and high-priced xenon gas could be administered. The machine has been approved for clinical trials.
Riley Joyce’s parents had to consent to the experimental therapy before doctors could proceed with it, and they are certainly glad they did so. Dave and Sarah Joyce told BBC News, “We are delighted that Riley is doing so well and we are extremely grateful that we were given this opportunity. Marianne was so passionate about the treatment and we truly believe that she had and still has the best interests of Riley in mind.”
It was unclear whether or not cooling and administering xenon gas would prevent brain injuries in adults suffering from similar conditions.
BBC News Staff (April 6, 2010) “First baby given xenon gas to prevent brain injury.” Retrieved on April 13, 2010 from the BBC News Web site:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/bristol/somerset/8611130.stm
Red Orbit Staff. (April 10, 2010) “Doctors Use Xenon To Prevent Brain Injury In Boy.” Retrieved on April 13, 2010 from the Red Orbit Web site:http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1847958/doctors_use_xenon_to_prevent…