We are now in the early stages of the “Era of the Brain”, as described by the NIH: https://irp.nih.gov/catalyst/v22i6/celebrating-the-era-of-the-brain
Since its inception in 2006, the International Conference on Brain Monitoring and Neuroprotection in the Newborn has been at the forefront of exploring the frontiers of this topic at the beginning of life. By attracting speakers and participants from all over the world, attendees have learned of new evidence and treatment strategies, while facilitating interaction between experts and clinicians in a format that has included workshops, plenary sessions, and abstract presentations of new research.
The number of areas of clinical and laboratory research is broadening every year. The best recent summary of these many fields of inquiry is from a recent issue of the Journal of Pediatrics, attached to this summary, or it can be found online at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=parikh+p+2017+neuroprotective
The areas of inquiry can be summarized as follows:
- Pathophysiology – can we better understand how brain injury occurs around the time of birth, in order to enable improvements in both prevention and treatment?
- Diagnosis – the diagnostic tools for brain injury are rapidly growing – imaging, EEG, blood biomarkers, and more. How can these be best used to guide treatment and inform prognosis?
- Therapy – current therapeutic intervention is limited to moderate hypothermia and supportive care, but many additional medical interventions are being explored. Which of these are approaching readiness for clinical trials?
Feedback from attendees has emphasized the value of each aspect of the conference format. In the workshops, attendees have stated their appreciation to get an extensive understanding of specific new diagnostic and treatment modalities. The podium presentations summarizing recent literature that may reach conflicting conclusions helps to guide decisions about adopting these new therapeutic strategies. In the abstract sessions, young researchers get the opportunity to present their work in a setting where experts in the field can offer support and constructive critiques.
In the 2019 iteration of this meeting we intend to address all of these areas of interest, helping clinicians to interpret the newest scientific evidence and assisting researchers in finding new avenues to explore and collaborators.