Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia, have developed a device that can non-invasively measure brain temperature. The device is about the size of a box of matches and rests on a patient’s head, passively detecting microwave emissions produced by the brain tissue beneath the skull. The device is able to measure the temperature of brain tissue 1.5 centimeters beneath the skull. It mainly would have application in monitoring cooling therapy, and would be used to prevent brain damage during cardiac arrest, total circulatory arrest, or for monitoring intracerebral temperatures in hypoxic newborns.The device is currently being evaluated on infants with Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy, and findings from a pilot study were presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies.
Having contacted the researchers, we received more details about the system:
The transducer is a non-invasive, passive system that is placed on the infant’s head and measures naturally occurring radiation in the microwave spectrum. It is important to stress that this is a passive system so therefore emits no signal, making its use completely harmless. We then quite accurately correlate this emission to temperature of the brain at depth. The pilot study at EVMS focuses on infants suffering from Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) having been deprived of oxygen and experienced trauma at birth. The use of moderate systemic hypothermia (HT) in these cases has shown to decrease death and disability, in fact improving outcomes by as much as 50%. Conventional cooling systems reference rectal temperature to control cooling and rewarming over the course of the 72 hour hypothermia therapy. Application of the MMS thermometry system in this study has shown that there are differences between rectal and brain temperature, therefore the system and knowledge of actual brain temperature it provides will allow improved control of temperature management during clinical hypothermia if integrated into practice.
“We are pleased with the tremendous initial response to this early data and are proud of the potential impact that knowledge of brain temperature in these challenging neonatal cases may have on the ability to manage hypothermia treatment. We plan to proceed with gathering additional clinical evidence as well as exploring expanded opportunities for clinical application of the thermometry system”, Jeff Carr, Chief Operating Officer of MMS.
Related abstracts (.pdf) presented at Pediatric Academic Society (PAS/ASPR Joint Meeting) congress in Denver, CO April 30-May 3…