A New Zealander doctor was recently commended for his study on applying mild hypothermia to mitigate brain damage among infants. His study on more than 200 babies from four countries, including the U.S., could save 4 of every 1,000 mature births in the U.S. affected by oxygen deprivation during birth.
His study also gives doctors and nurses a backup plan in the worst-case scenario.
Hypothermia treatment, as it’s called, involves lowering the baby’s temperature to 92.3 degrees for 72 hours. While experts don’t have a clear grasp of hypothermia’s effects on the brain cells, it is thought that the cold reprograms the cells to delay apoptosis or programmed cell death and slows their metabolism.