Children born prematurely often suffer from life-threatening breathing pauses because the lungs and respiratory center are not yet fully developed. The breathing pauses can occur 15 to 20 times an hour and must be treated immediately so that the premature baby does not suffer from a lack of oxygen. To prevent this, the haptics laboratory at the Paul Flechsig Institute for Brain Research at the University of Leipzig wants to develop a foot cuff that will help premature babies to breathe independently. For this research project called "Neo-Takt", the head of the haptics laboratory, Prof. Dr. Martin Grunwald 108.000 euros in prize money from the Ferry Porsche Challenge.
"I am very pleased that the Ferry Porsche Foundation has recognized the vital need for a technical ankle cuff for the little premature babies and that the jury has awarded us first place," says Prof. Dr. Martin Grunwald. “Our project aims to end the extremely frequent breathing pauses in premature babies faster than before. An air pressure cuff on the foot of the premature baby would produce slight tactile stimuli when breathing stops. Thanks to this technical stroking, the premature baby then starts to breathe independently again.” In everyday clinical practice, the nursing staff takes over the foot stimulation, which takes a certain amount of time because the pediatric nurse has to disinfect her hands before any physical contact with the premature baby. A technical, tactile foot stimulation could take over the caressing of the foot and thus reduce the vital period from the onset of the respiratory arrest phase to the treatment. By saving time, the scientists hope to reduce the damaging effects of lack of oxygen and promote healthy growth in premature babies.
A group of experts and the jury of the Ferry Porsche Challenge made their choice "Neo-Tact" from the University of Leipzig from around 600 submissions. The donation competition was aimed at non-profit organizations that are involved in the areas of education and science, culture, social affairs, sport and the environment in the Stuttgart or Leipzig area. The Ferry Porsche Foundation launched the competition with the aim of promoting social commitment.
Source: Press release from the University of Leipzig from June 29.06.2020th, XNUMX