Aiden's story | Action Medical Research

Aiden's story

Neonatal encephalopathy (NE)

Aiden suffered from a shortage of oxygen at birth and was whisked away to the intensive care unit where the team began to reduce his body temperature to protect him from brain damage.

“For the first two hours I didn’t know whether our beautiful son had survived or not,” remembers Aiden’s dad, Keith. Their baby son had immediately captured his parents’ hearts.

Aiden’s body temperature was cooled using a special blanket to prevent brain damage and help save his life. The cooling blanket was removed after 72 hours and Aiden was warmed to a normal body temperature. His parents were concerned this might trigger further seizures but Aiden coped very well.

A huge milestone was the removal of Aiden’s breathing support. He was able to continue to breathe unaided but suffered a further seizure and a return to the brain monitor developed by Dr Austin and his team.

Aiden is now three years old and is a happy little boy who loves to play and be around people. He has cerebral palsy but a combination of therapies is helping him get stronger. "Aiden has the biggest, brightest smile and laugh. He can easily melt your heart," says his mum, Fleur. "Without previous research his outcome could have been even more severe. Research that could further advance treatment is so important."

Around 1,300 babies develop the life-threatening condition neonatal encephalopathy (NE) each year in the UK. Cooling therapy, starting as soon as possible after birth, improves their chances of surviving and escaping disability. This breakthrough therapy is the product of a 20-year programme of research to which Action Medical Research contributed.

You can read more about research to improve diagnosis of seizures, current Action-funded research at University College London and our success story around our funding of research into cooling therapy.

You might also like to read a special Father's Day blog by Aiden's dad Keith; and reflections from his mum Fleur on Mother's Day.

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