A pioneering 'brainwashing' procedure they believe will slash the number of premature babies suffering severe disabilities has been developed by UK scientists.
The technique involves removing potentially harmful toxic fluids from the brains of infants born early.
"Premature babies are particularly at risk of bleeding because, in the middle of pregnancy, the foetus has many fragile blood vessels in the centre of the brain,' said Prof Andrew Whitelaw, at the University of Bristol.
"These blood vessels shrink by full term and bleeding is rare in babies born at 40 weeks," he added.
He worked with Ian Pople, paediatric neurosurgeon at North Bristol NHS Trust.
In studies of 77 premature babies with large brain haemorrhages, those treated with the new technique were significantly less likely to suffer disabilities.
"This is the first time that any treatment anywhere in the world has been shown to benefit these very vulnerable babies," said Pople.
Isaac Walker-Cox, who lives in Yate, South Gloucestershire, was saved from the brainwashing procedure.
The nine-year-old was born 13 weeks early and suffered a haemorrhage on his brain leaving him close to death.
His parents Rebekah, 36, and Steven, 35, decided he should undergo brainwashing as part of the early trials.
This pioneering work has been described in an article published online in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.