Incereb, Took some timeout to provide Connec2nicu with understanding pertaining to the EEG and its role in the NICU journey. Incereb, which is based in Dublin, was founded in 2012 to develop neonatal and Fetal physiological monitoring sensors which were quick and easy to use without the need for specialist neurophysiology training. Our team has over 20 years experience in neurophysiology (EEG), medical device R&D and manufacturing. Incereb are industry partners in The Science Foundation Ireland Funded INFANT Centre, based at University College Cork.
Q1. Some infants in NICU will need an EEG (electroencephalogram). What is this and what is it for?
A1. It’s a test to measure the brain’s electrical activity. Most of the neonatal infants requiring an EEG will have suffered a lack of oxygen to the brain during delivery and the infant may be having seizures or at risk of having seizures. A seizure is a discharge of electricity in the brain, which can cause the infant to twitch or convulse. However, only 20% of seizures are visible to the eye (clinical seizures), the remainder have no visible signs (sub clinical seizures) and they occur in the brain alone. Unfortunately, the sub clinical seizures can do as much damage as the clinical seizures.
Q2. What damage do seizures cause? What happens if the seizures are treated?
A2. There are no certainties so a parent would need to discuss this with their infant’s doctors. In general terms, untreated seizures may mean the infant’s brain will not develop fully and the child may need support during its life. If the seizures are treated, there is a greater chance of the brain developing fully and the child not needing support during its life.
Q3. What is the treatment for seizures?
A3. The treatment is to cool the infant’s brain for a period (24 hours or more).
Q4. So how is an EEG done?
A4. Several electrodes must be attached to the infant’s head and connected by cable to an EEG machine. There are two main types of electrode: sub dermal needles which puncture the skin and surface electrodes “stuck” to the skin with conducting gel or paste. (Needles are becoming less common due to reasonable pressures from infection control staff.) Once attached, the electrodes are typically held in place by micropore tape or similar. Generally, the electrodes must be attached to the skin by a skilled operator which takes time (up to an hour). Once the electrodes are attached to the infant, they can be connected to an EEG machine. Most NICUs will have EEG machines available, but while babies are born at all hours and all days, unfortunately the skilled operators are not always available 24/7.
Q5. Are there any quick and easy alternatives, available 24/7, that don’t need a skilled operator?
A5. Incereb Limited (Ireland) has products that can be taken out of the box and applied to an infant’s head in minutes. The products have the electrodes in fixed places, so as long as the device is lined up ear to ear and centered on the nose line, the electrodes are “stuck” to the skin with paste and will capture all the relevant electrical measurements. Once the electrodes are attached to the infant, they can be connected to an EEG machine. This can be accomplished by a nurse – or any medical practitioner likely to be in an NICU – with minimal training. More details, including product videos, here.
Q6. Tell me more about Incereb and its products?
A6. Incereb Limited (Ireland) was set up by an entrepreneur previously practicing as an EEG technician. He saw the need for a more effective solution for neonatal infants that could be applied quickly and easily and did not require a skilled technician to measure the head, position the electrodes etc. He developed the neon8 electrode array (8 electrodes including REF and GND) and the neon12 electrode array (12 electrodes including REF and GND). These two products have been manufactured in Ireland, have CE approval for Europe and FDA approval for the USA. Incereb are developing their worldwide sales dealer network. More details here.