Global perinatal neuroscience
The burden of life-long disabilities arising from brain injury during newborn period is far higher in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries. The vast majority results from perinatal asphyxia or infection, and often a combination of these.
Whilst cooling therapy reduces death and disability after neonatal encephalopathy in high-income countries, the safety and efficacy of cooling therapy in low and middle-income countries in unknown. Over the past decade, our work has been focused on understanding brain injury after neonatal encephalopathy in low- and middle-income countries and evaluating the safety and efficacy of cooling therapy in these settings. We have set up a consortium of large perinatal centres in South Asia with facilities for 3 Tesla MR imaging and spectroscopy for conducting this work.
Hypothermia for Encephalopathy in Low and Middle Income Countries (HELIX) Trial (Funding: NIHR and Weston Garfield Foundation)
Although cooling is the standard of care for neonatal encephalopathy in high-income countries, the safety and efficacy of cooling in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) - which shoulder 99% of the disease burden - is unclear. A total of 408 encephalopathic babies will be randomised to cooling or usual care, from three countries (India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh). Outcome measures are based on 3 Tesla MRI and MR spectroscopy at 2 weeks after birth, and death/neurodisability at 18 months after birth. HELIX is the largest ever cooling trial in the world, and the only such trial to use MR spectroscopy biomarkers across multi-vendor platforms.
See the HELIX trial video on the last trial baby (No:408) (Recruited in Feb 2019)
Bayley assessment of the final (408) baby at Bangalore at the roof top in a remote village in Karnataka (Sept 2020)