Safar Center investigators Bob Clark, Alicia Au, and Chris Horvat in collaboration with the Department of Biomedical Informatics, have been awarded a five-year, $3.1 million R01 grant entitled “Bio-digital Rapid Alert to Identify Neuromorbidity (BRAIN)” from the National Institute of Neurologic Diseases and Stroke (NINDS).

“The silent development and progression of neurologic morbidity, or neuromorbidity, among hospitalized, critically ill children represents a newly recognized and emerging epidemic,” said Bob Clark, MD, one of the principal investigators and Associate Director of the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research. “Despite this, no standard clinical tool exists to identify patients, adult or pediatric, at risk for neuromorbidity or for real-time neurologic monitoring, in stark contrast to tools to monitor the heart, kidney, liver, and many other organs.” BRAIN is an innovative clinical tool designed to fill this gap by providing point-of-care neurologic monitoring for early detection of neuromorbidity in critically ill children. BRAIN combines contemporary brain injury biomarkers with proprietary machine learning algorithms that interrogate hundreds of features derived from over 30 variables selected from nine clinical domains.

Other principal investigators include Alicia Au, MD, MS and Chris Horvat, MD, MHA from the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and biomedical informatician Harry Hochheiser, PhD from the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Biomedical Informatics.

This multi-departmental, multi-institutional, and multi-organizational NINDS grant also includes Safar Center for Resuscitation Research Director Patrick Kochanek, MD, UPMC CMIO Robert Bart, MD, investigators at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and a collaboration with Abbott Diagnostics. This effort is also supported by UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Brain Care Institute and Children’s Neuroscience Institute.