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A discussion of oddities

A little hypothermia might be good for you.
"Device for cooling infant's brain" US Patent 6,312,453 (2001)

Cooling infant's brain

When a brain does not receive sufficient oxygen-rich blood, neurons in the brain begin to die very quickly. This is especially true of newborns, which "occurs in an estimate 1 or 2 per 1000 births in the United States." According to this inventor, "there is scientific evidence that mild hypothermia ... protects against neuronal damage in the case of hypoxic-ischemic situations [reduced oxygen supply]" and helps improve the ultimate neurological and psycho-motor development of the child.

Interestingly, the inventor describes a previous device for cooling an infant's brain. However it uses "conventional tubing arranged in a spiral", which "has a tendency to spring back and revert to its original shape." This could physically injure a newborn's skull, which are obviously softer and not fully formed like those of adults. This cap also "avoids cooling the infant's forehead and face to avoid "diver's reflex which could result in the cessation of breathing by the infant."

I'm sure it would be awful to wear as it is essentially designed to create discomfort due to cold. However the mild, albeit intentional, hypothermia is deemed to be less of a risk to the infant than reduced oxygen supply, which is understandable. Hopefully this temporary discomfort will allow doctors time to work on the brain's oxygen supply, and reduce the neurological damage resulting therefrom. Poor babies; that's a rough way to come into the world.


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