Near-infrared spectroscopy aids in neonatal brain injury diagnosis

Researchers in the Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering, the Institute for Women’s Health, and the Neonatal Unit at University College London (England) have developed and tested a near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) system to aid in the diagnosis of neonatal brain injury.

Related: Imaging distributed function and networks in the human brain

The novel bedside system, known as CYRIL (“CYtochrome Research Instrument and AppLication”), simultaneously measures cerebral changes in tissue oxygenation and hemodynamics by estimating the changes in hemoglobin concentration. The portable system also tracks oxygen utilization by measuring the oxidation state of cytochrome-c-oxidase (CCO), which is responsible for >95% of oxygen metabolism in the body.

Examples of the intensity spectra recorded with the CYRIL system and the corresponding change in attenuation between them.

The research team's study demonstrated the in vivo measurement capabilities of the CYRIL system. Quantitative NIRS data acquired by CYRIL at the same time as systemic data (thus permitting multimodal data analysis) in six newborn infants with neonatal encephalopathy indicated that the relationship between hemoglobin oxygenation changes and CCO oxidation changes during spontaneous oxygen desaturation events was significantly correlated with a magnetic resonance spectroscopy-measured biomarker of injury severity.

Full details of the work appear in the journal Biomedical Optics Express; for more information, please visit

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