Research Group Lead
The Neonatal Brain Research Group
The Neonatal Brain Research Group (NBRG), based at Cork University Maternity Hospital and the IFWH at UCL are working on a Wellcome trust funded project to develop clinically robust automated seizure detection software for sick new born babies, the Algorithm for Neonatal Seizure Recognition (ANSeR).
The NBRG is a multidisciplinary team of neurophysiologists, neonatologists, engineers and researchers based at Cork University Maternity Hospital (lead Prof. Geraldine Boylan) and The Institute for Women’s Health, University College London (lead Dr Janet Rennie) specializing in the analysis of the electroencephalogram (EEG) in newborn babies. The team at UCL is specifically collaborating on a Wellcome trust funded project to develop clinically robust automated seizure detection software, the Algorithm for Neonatal Seizure Recognition (ANSeR).
Seizures are common in sick neonates with etiologies such as hypoxic ischemicencephalopathy, stroke and meningitis. Mounting evidence suggests that seizures may cause additional neuronal damage in addition to the underlying brain pathology therefore prompt detection and treatment may improve patient outcome. Studies have shown that the majority of neonatal seizures are clinically silent and can only be reliably detected with continuous multi-channel video EEG, but the EEG is a complex signal and there is often a lack of trained experts available, particularly out of hours, to interpret the EEG and identify seizures. Consequently there is a pressing need to develop clinically robust automated methods of seizure detection.
In the first Wellcome funded grant, an algorithm analyzing 55 features of the EEG and using a learning neural network classifier (support vector machine) was developed by NBRG engineers and tested post acquisition on EEG data collected from the neonatal units at UCLH and Cork University Maternity Hospital with promising results. In our current Wellcome grant ANSeR will be tested ‘live’ in a multicentre clinical evaluation involving the Cork University Maternity Hospital, UCLH, The London and Homerton Hospital, The Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, Rotunda Maternity Hospital, Dublin and the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital, Netherlands. Our ultimate goal is to obtain a product licence for ANSeR.