The BiHIVE study investigates biomarkers of Hypoxic-Ischaemic Encephalopathy.

What is BiHIVE?

The BiHIVE study investigates a condition known as hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE), which is the damage caused by severe oxygen deprivation at birth. HIE is the third most common cause of newborn death.

Babies that survive the condition are also at risk of life-changing illnesses like cerebral palsy, seizures, developmental delay or learning and behavioural problems. BiHIVE asks whether HIE changes the biochemical makeup of blood, and what we can learn from these changes. 

BiHIVE is a collaborative study between INFANT researchers in Cork University Maternity Hospital and Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden, Stockholm. 

Newborn baby's feet
How does BiHIVE work?

BiHIVE looks for the biochemical changes which HIE causes in our blood, identifying these changes as biomarkers. Blood biomarkers can tell us how severe the damage caused by HIE is.

Doctors treat HIE using a technique called therapeutic hypothermia, known as 'cooling'. Lowering a baby's body temperature over a number of days has been shown to slow down the damage HIE causes in the brain. 

The goal of the study is to create a simple blood test, which doctors can use within minutes of birth. This test will tell them if a baby is at risk of significant HIE and needs this cooling treament. 

BiHIVE finished recruitment in 2016, with 500 babies joining the study, thanks to families in Cork and Karolinska. 

Baby in bed.

BiHIVE finished recruitment in 2016, with 500 babies joining the study in Cork and Stockholm.

Subscribe to our newsletter