According to the Global Action Report published by The World Health Organization in 2012, preterm births are 15 million every year and rising. About 1.1 million babies die from preterm birth complications and 5-18% is the range of preterm birth rates across 184 countries of the world. More than 80% of preterm births occur between 32-37 weeks of gestation and most of these babies can survive with essential newborn care. More than 75% of deaths of preterm births can be prevented without intensive care.
The extremely preterm infants (born at less than 28 weeks of gestation) represent 0.5% of all births which when translated into numbers is equivalent to more than 25,000 cases per year in Europe. These children have a higher risk of death, approximately 20%. They usually remain in intensive care for several weeks and then in the hospital for 2-3 months before going home. Furthermore, one in four grows up with cognitive and physical handicaps, mainly due to injury from lack of blood flow and oxygen delivery in the brain.
This is the context where BabyLux research works. The project launches, within that background, a significant challenge in the field of innovative technique that accurately detects oxygen in the brain of babies born prematurely and to reduce the risk of brain damage.