Therapeutic hypothermia is a good way to protect against brain damage in newborns that are deprived of oxygen due to several reasons such as umbilical cord entanglement, anemia, or other causes of cerebral hypoperfusion. Most hospitals in the present day have incubator-like cooling devices that help ensure a specific temperature so that the baby recovers, but sometimes such devices are too costly.
Now, Students at Johns Hopkins have come out with an inexpensive alternative costing about $40 which says it is capable of reducing a newborn’s temperature by about six degrees for three consecutive days.
The system named as, The Cooling Cure, uses instant ice-pack powder for temperature reduction and also has temperature sensors which assist caregivers in maintaining the required cooling.
The students have created an inexpensive and simple design of a cooler made of a clay pot and a plastic-lined basket, which is separated by a layer of sand and urea-based powder. This powder is the type used in instant cold-packs that help reduce swelling. To get the baby-cooling unit started, water is combined with the mixture of sand and powder, which triggers a chemical reaction that takes the heat away from the upper basket, which cradles the child. There is also no danger of the chemical coming in contact with the infant.
The device also has a microprocessor and sensors which monitor the child’s internal and skin temperatures. There are light indications which flash if the temperature has risen above normal level. This provides a good guideline for the caregiver to take necessary action.