21 January 2005

University of Queensland research on seizures in newborn babies will benefit from National Health and Medical Research Council funding to take effect from this month.

Ten research teams in three states received total funding of $2.1 million in the NHMRC Development grants scheme.

Professor Paul Colditz of UQ`s Perinatal Research Centre will receive $243,750 to advance studies of seizures in the newborn.

“Newborn babies are at risk of becoming short of oxygen during delivery and sustaining brain damage," he said.

“Seizures may cause further damage to the brain because they release damaging chemicals or make extra energy demands on the brain that cannot be met.

“To detect seizures, it is necessary to measure the EEG, the tiny electrical signals from the brain.

“We are proposing to automatically detect and count seizures, building upon eight years of fundamental EEG signal processing research work.”

Professor Colditz said an automated seizure detection system was fundamental to the better treatment of these sick babies.

“It will also allow us to better track how the baby is responding to treatment,” he said. “It will provide a platform for developing better treatments for seizures. Given its potential to improve outcomes for babies and prevent brain damage, we anticipate that the product will be of major commercial interest.”

Professor Boualem Boashash of the Signal Processing Research Centre at QUT will also be involved in the study.

Media: Further information, contact Professor Paul Colditz, telephone (07) 3636 1760 or Jan King at UQ Communications, telephone 0413 601 248.