This health video looks at cooling a child's brain to help aid in recovery.
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Jennifer Mathews: Every moment is precious for Isatu Bah who thought her son David would die when he wasn’t breathing at birth. Isatu Bah: I was just terrified, waiting for a cry, he never cried. Jennifer Mathews: David suffered from lack of oxygen to the brain, which often kills newborns or causes severe brain damage. But a new type for cooling blanket saved his life. Isatu Bah: I was willing to try anything. Jennifer Mathews: Within the first six hours of his life, David was placed on this blanket, cold water ran through it to lower his body temperature to 91 degrees Fahrenheit. That slows a baby’s metabolic rate, protecting the brain and stopping a second wave of damage, which is often more harmful than the first. Siva Subramanian: It cools the brain. Because the blood is cold, the blood that circulates the brain then cools all the brain structures around. Jennifer Mathews: After 72 hours, babies are slowly rewarmed. International studies report about a 27% drop in death and disabilities with this technique. Siva Subramanian: It is remarkable. That’s why I said, you know, from the frustration to see that there’s something that we can offer that really makes a difference. Jennifer Mathews: So far, doctors have found no side effects. And in David’s case, a recent MRI showed no evidence of brain damage. Isatu Bah: We have been praying all over about it. Jennifer Mathews: Isatu has left her bible in her son’s crib for good luck. But now the only blankets he sleeps with are the typical baby ones. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.