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Newborn blood test could prevent disability

Testing blood from the umbilical cord of newborns could reveal likelihood of brain damage

Posted: 14 May 2010
by Kimberley Smith
Blood from umbilical cord offers clues to babies with serious conditions

A blood test, which measures the pH level in a baby’s umbilical cord, could be the next step towards preventing disabilities like cerebral palsy.

One of the chief causes of cerebral palsy and infant brain damage is a lack of oxygen at birth. Doctors in Birmingham have found a strong link between lack of oxygen and a low pH (more acid) found in the blood.

Analysis of studies involving nearly 500, 000 babies found increasing the pH of the blood could help reduce the number of babies who go on to suffer serious conditions.

“We aim to reduce the numbers of babies born with a low cord pH, without increasing unnecessary obstetric intervention,” said James Neilson, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at University of Liverpool.

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cerebral palsy, brain conditions, newborn, baby blood test, umbilical cord, hope

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