Joined: 18 Jan 2013
|Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:19 am Post subject: Infant Warmer
|Sometimes it's the simplest of medical inventions that save millions of lives. Meet inventors Jane Chen and Rajan Patel, and their innovative infant warmer.
Every year 20 million babies are born premature. They struggle to survive because they can't regulate their body temperature and they don't have enough fat on their tiny bodies to keep warm.
Approximately 14% of babies born are considered low birth weight, but these babies account for 60-80% of neonatal deaths.
The solution is to keep premature babies warm but an incubator costs $20,000 and requires electricity which is difficult to find in developing countries, particularly in rural areas.
Parents resort to drastic solutions to keep their babies warm. They attach hot water bottles to them or place them under light bulbs, which is not only ineffective but unsafe. As a result, 4 million premature babies die each year. Two-thirds of deaths occur in ten countries and 40% of those occur in India.
Those that survive endure severe long term health problems (diabetes, heart disease, mental dysfunction) because they're battling hypothermia instead of growing.
To solve this problem Jane and Rajan, graduates of Stanford University, created an ingeniously simple, portable, reusable infant incubator that requires no electricity and costs less than thirty dollars.
It is safe and intuitive to use. It has no moving parts and can be easily sterilized. It looks like a tiny sleeping bag but it's design is very clever.
It has a pouch that contains a "phase-change wax material" that radiates heat throughout the insulation at a temperature of 37 degrees Celius (98 F) - the temperature critical for the child's survival.
The pouch is removed from the insulated blanket and activated by placing it in hot water for 15 minutes. It's then placed into the blanket.
The phase-change material maintains a constant temperature for 4 hours by absorbing heat if the baby gets too hot, and giving heat if the baby gets too cold.
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