Maximizing impact of multidisciplinary research in early diagnosis of neonatal brain injury

What is AI-4-NICU?

Five in every 1000 babies born each year have a condition linked to brain injury. For full-term infants, lack of oxygen is a common cause of injury; for premature infants, poor function of the immature heart and lungs can cause brain injury. These injuries can result in death, cerebral palsy, or delayed development. Early diagnosis is essential to help minimise the risk of brain injury. Central to an early diagnosis is continuous brain monitoring.

The AI-4-NICU Action will create a pan-European multidisciplinary network with the clinical and technical expertise required to bring artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled decision-support tools to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). These AI tools build on existing cotside technologies, such as a device that measures brain waves (electroencephalogram), by including AI algorithms to detect markers of brain injury.

Neuro-physiological data sets are limited in size and scope and not freely available; AI-4-NICU will develop the tools necessary to acquire, pool, share, and manage data. These data are often complex and noisy and standards for developing and assessing AI algorithms are lacking; AI-4-NICU will create a framework to develop, test, and compare these algorithms. A lack of coordinated effort, sometimes exacerbated by a disconnect between clinicians and scientists/engineers, impedes progress; AI-4-NICU will expand the research community, join existing fragmented efforts, and create and enhance productive synergies.

Working with all stakeholders, AI-4-NICU will identify roadblocks to clinical implementation and propose designs for clinically-useful prototypes. This Action will address the urgent, unmet need to reduce the potentially catastrophic life-long consequences of neonatal brain injury.

Principal Investigator: Dr. John O’Toole –