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Research & Innovation | Overview

The Boston Children's Hospital Neurocritical Care Program is dedicated to scientific research with the potential to greatly improve brain recovery in seriously ill and injured children.

We are currently studying several areas, including:

  • assessments of heart and brain interactions
  • cerebral metabolism
  • cerebrovascular autoregulation
  • assessments of brain function and substructure networks in coma
  • neuropharmacology and therapeutics for refractory status epilepticus

We are also taking part in national and international studies of traumatic brain injury, and we're collaborating with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on signal processing and computational physiology efforts.

The Neurocritical Care Program uses the most advanced tools and technologies available, including:

  • computed tomography (CT) imaging of the brain, which can be performed right at the bedside
  • a powerful 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner located right by the ICU, allowing patients to undergo the test without being moved to another part of the hospital
  • intensive neuromonitoring, a combination of techniques to track the different functions of a child's brain

The program also plans to make significant additions in the future, including the introduction of:

  • near-infrared spectroscopy, a highly effective and non-invasive way to capture images of brain functions
  • signal-processed electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring, a sophisticated tool for measuring brain activity
  • transcranial Doppler, a special test that assesses the rate of blood flow through a child's brain
  • non-invasive hemodynamic monitoring, the continuous measurement of how a child's heart and lungs are working
  • integrative physiology, an approach to examining how both external and internal factors affect the body