Sean Griffin, CTO, Geraldine Boylan, CSO and Jason Mowles, CEO of CergenX aim to improve brain health monitoring in new borns by developing algorithms for screening all babies at birth for abnormal brain activity. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Revolutionary technology is helping new born babies

A Cork-based start-up is using recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) for the early detection of abnormal brain activity in babies at birth.

Founded in 2021, CergenX aims to improve brain health monitoring in new borns by developing algorithms for screening all babies at birth for abnormal brain activity.

The technology will enable early intervention by medical professionals to improve outcomes for new born babies.

According to CergenX, at least 5 in every 1,000 new born babies may have some degree of brain injury which often goes undetected until the infant is much older and developmental problems become apparent.

Currently, the most common method for assessing brain function in new born babies involves the use of electroencephalography (EEG) which measures the tiny electrical impulses of the brain.

However, EEGs are complex to read, time consuming and there is often a shortage of trained specialists available. It is therefore not possible to test all new born babies.

Commenting on the new technology, CergenX Chief Scientific Officer Geraldine Boylan said early detection of abnormal brain activity is critical.

She said: “The majority of brain development takes place within the first few years of life, so early detection of any abnormal brain activity is critical.

“Early detection is essential for improving the outcome for the child and indeed their family. There are a growing range of treatments and interventions available for new-born brain injury, but we need to know which babies are at highest risk as soon as possible.”

Jason Mowles, CergenX CEO, added: “We are in discussions with medical device manufacturers who are interested in incorporating our software solutions into their devices.

“This is the start of a revolution in the use of AI for new born brain healthcare, and CergenX intends to be at the forefront of this.”

CergenX is a spin-out from the INFANT Research Centre at UCC which has been at the forefront of new born brain research since it was founded by Prof Geraldine Boylan in 2013.

The company has assembled a diverse team with expertise in the new-born brain, AI, commercialisation, software development, finance, funding and regulatory expertise.

Congratulating the team, UCC’s Director of Innovation, Dr Sally Cudmore, said: “This new UCC spin-out company is a strong example of the potential of clinical research to directly improve neonatal health care. CergenX will convert many years of excellent UCC research into technologies for direct clinical use to improve patient outcomes for infants.”

CergenX is an Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start Up (HPSU) company.