Functional ultrasound imaging of babies makes the cover of Science Translational Medicine

Our team Inserm U979 “Wave Physics for Medicine” has partnered up with the department of neonatology and neonates ICU of Pr. Olivier Baud (now directed by Pr. Valérie Biran) at the pediatric hospital Robert Debré to perform a scientific and medical premiere : they have used ultrasonography to non-invasively image the cerebral activity of preterm neonates. The study has just been published in front page of Science Translational Medicine.

It constitutes the first proof-of-concept for non-invasive neuro-functional ultrasound imaging on humans. The cerebral activity of premature newborns was recorded in large brain regions, at both resting state and during epileptic seizures, at 1000 frames/sec with a 150-µm spatial resolution. These unprecedented data show a propagation of blood flows in between and during the epileptic events, and enable the localization of the seizure’s source.

The results demonstrate the potential of functional ultrasound imaging to monitor brain activity and diagnose neurologic disorders at the bedside of premature newborns, who are otherwise challenging to examine. This work has been publicized in a press release from Inserm, attracting the attention of various medias (including Sciences&Avenir and Le Temps), and has been covered in an ERC Story.


C. Demené et al., Functional ultrasound imaging of brain activity in human newborns, Science Translational Medicine Vol. 9, Issue 411, doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.aah6756