Two research projects applied to medicine within the Boston Children's Hospital

They have just returned from the United States with the enthusiasm of someone who has had an extraordinary experience. Charlotte Guarrasi, Enrico Lombardi and Stefania Percivati ​​will discuss the thesis of master's degree in IngBiomedical engineering atUniversità Campus Bio-Medico di Roma. They return from Boston where they spent the last 4 months doing research in one of the Teaching hospital ofHarvard Medical School.

Stephanie says: “The proposal came from our rapporteur Fabrizio Taffoni, professor of Biomechatronics, who is in constant contact with the alumna UCBM Eleonora Tamilia, now at Harvard, has signaled us the opportunity to join her”. The researcher, PhD in UCBM in 2015 under the leadership ofing. Taffoni, with a doctoral thesis on studio of the motor performance of the newborn, in fact works in the Fetal Neonatal Neuroimaginging and Developmental Science Center of the Boston Children's Hospital on projects related in particular to epilepsy in the pediatric age.

Identify the surgical target in cases of childhood epilepsy

Specifically, Enrico and Stefania were also involved in a study on childhood epilepsy aimed at identifying in an innovative way the area of ​​the brain responsible for the generation of epileptic seizures. The two undergraduates UCBM they then completed an algorithm for analyzing the electroencephalographic data of patients with epilepsy that cannot be treated with drug therapy. In fact, the latter, in view of the intervention, are surgically implanted a set of electrodes directly in contact with the cerebral cortex from which to extract the information necessary to identify the area of ​​the brain to be operated on (EcoG is the monitoring technique used) .

It was a daily commitment that of the very young researchers in the laboratories, associated with participation in academic initiatives such as theepilepsy conference, weekly meeting of all doctors and researchers who deal with pathology at different levels within what was named the best children's hospital in the US for the year 2016-2017.

“We have been fully entered into both an international and a multidisciplinary environment, where you work to find a common solution starting from background different. It seemed to us an approach in line with our university career". This time it is Charlotte who speaks, still in the research group 'Children's Brain Dynamics', he instead realized an experimental set up to measure pain perception in premature infants.

The study in the neonatal intensive care unit

In fact, the long-term effects on neurodevelopment of a number of painful procedures are not yet known – from sampling to surgery - required by clinical practice in neonatal intensive care units. For this reason, the very young researcher thought of placing a precise configuration of sensors capable of detecting signals of different entities on the body of premature babies undergoing surgery. A hypothesis that has become reality thanks to the green light of the Harvard Medical School ethics committee, allowing the monitoring of very young patients both at rest and during the painful stimulus.

“These months have allowed us to grow profoundly – ​​adds Enrico. We actually had a full-time research experience which for us represented the first approach to the working world that we will soon have to deal with".