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Blood test could diagnose baby brain damage just hours after birth

Scientists in London have developed a blood test which can detect which babies deprived of oxygen at birth are at risk of serious disabilities.

The Imperial College team working with groups in India, Italy and the USA say the prototype test looks for certain genes being switched on and off that are linked to long term neurological issues such as cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

The research was carried out in Indian hospitals, where there are around 0.5-1.0 million cases of birth asphyxia (oxygen deprivation) per year.

Babies can suffer oxygen deprivation at birth for a number of reasons, including when the mother has too little oxygen in her blood, infection, or through complications with the umbilical cord during birth.

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