TodayThe world’s largest study on babies with brain injuries has been launched in India to help prevent epilepsy. Leading experts from the UK and Indian universities will conduct the study.
To try and reduce the number of epilepsy cases following perinatal brain injury, the Imperial College, London will lead the Prevention of Epilepsy by reducing Neonatal Encephalopathy (PREVENT) study. Several leading academics in Obstetrics, Midwifery, Neonatology, Neurology, Electrophysiology, Public Health and Health Economics from the UK and India will be involved in the PREVENT study to work on coming up with answers to prevent epilepsy.
Researchers say the perinatal brain injury could be reduced by introducing a ‘care bundle’ to improve the intrapartum care in Indian public hospitals which includes intelligent foetal heart rate monitoring, an e-partogram, brain oriented neonatal resuscitation and birth companions.
The 3.4-million pounds project, funded by the National Institute of Health Research, will be conducted over four years by researchers from institutions in the UK and India. The study will deal around 80,000 women recruited from three major hospitals in South India – the Bangalore Medical College, the Madras Medical College and the Calicut Medical College.
“Birth asphyxia related brain injury is the commonest cause of death and disability in babies worldwide. We believe that this could be substantially reduced with a ‘care bundle’ that combines many key evidence-based elements which have been shown to reduce perinatal brain injury,” said Dr Sudhin Thayyil of the Imperial College London, who is also the Chief Investigator for the project.
The babies with brain injury will have detailed neurophysiological investigations, including electroencephalogram (EEG), advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and neurodevelopmental follow up assessments. Professor Helen Cross, from the University College London and one of the study investigators, said: “Millions of people around the world develop epilepsy every year and the incidence is twice as high in low and middle-income countries. Epilepsy related to perinatal brain injury is a large social and economic burden in India.”
Approximately 500,000 new epilepsy cases occur in India every year, of which 87,000 (17.4 per cent) are likely to be related to a birth-related brain injury. The vast majority of these cases will have additional neuro disabilities, including cerebral palsy, deafness and blindness. According to Imperial College London, approximately 50-70 million people have epilepsy worldwide with around 12 million people were estimated to be living with epilepsy in India.

Source: India Today

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