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The University of Southampton
Clinical Neonatal and Developmental Neurosciences Group

Frequently Asked Questions

What is HIE?

Neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) is caused by poor oxygen delivery to the brain around the time of birth (perinatal asphyxia). Worldwide, perinatal asphyxia causes 23% of all newborn deaths; in the UK there were 835 newborns with HIE in 2015. It carries a high risk for brain injury and neurodevelopmental impairment in surviving infants. Therapeutic hypothermia, or “cooling”, reduces death and neurodisability, and is now standard treatment. Nevertheless, of those who survive, about 14% develop Cerebral Palsy (CP), and up to 60% of those without CP have neurodevelopmental problems. For this group little is known on school progress, social functioning, and quality of life; knowledge is missing about long term brain development after HIE; and information is lacking about how routine assessments of brain injury with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the newborn period and assessments in infancy can predict school age outcomes.

What MRI scanning is involved for the NENAH study?

The neuroimaging data of NENAH study are collected on a Siemens Skyra 3 Tesla MRI scanner (Erlangen, Germany). There are conventional MRI sequences to obtain the size, shape, and structure of brain tissues, including:

  • High-resolution T1- and T2-weighted sequences, and
  • FLAIR (FLuid-Attenuated Inversion Recovery) sequence.

Additionally, there are advanced MRI sequences involved, including:

  • Diffusion-weighted MRI sequence that can illustrate the path of neurons in the white matter of the brain, and
  • Resting-state functional MRI sequence that can explore the activation patterns of different brain regions when the subjects are asked to not perform any specific task.

The total scanning time is about 50 minutes.

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