Simple ‘sleep hormone’ skin patch could protect at-risk newborns

A simple, cheap treatment of a skin patch containing a naturally occurring ‘sleep hormone’ could soon help to protect newborn babies from brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation at birth.

A recent study, led by PhD student Dr James Aridas and Associate Professor Suzanne Miller in The Ritchie Centre, Monash University, is paving the way for a treatment that could transform the way babies starved of oxygen at birth are treated around the world.

The preclinical findings have been published in the May 2018 issue of Journal of Pineal Research.

“Being born without enough oxygen at birth (perinatal asphyxia) can cause death or lead to severe brain damage and it affects millions of babies each year. There is currently no available treatment that can be used to protect the brain in most of these babies,” Dr Aridas says.

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