Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Baby Bubbler': Student invention helps infants with respiratory ailments

Date:
June 9, 2010
Source:
Rice University
Summary:
Undergraduates have developed a device that could save babies' lives. The Baby Bubbler -- or in its more technical guise, the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device -- helps children with acute respiratory infections breathe naturally as they recover.

Haruka Maruyama of Tokyo prepares a doll for a prototype of the Baby Bubbler, which will be demonstrated this summer in Malawi and Lesotho as part of Rice's global health initiative, Beyond Traditional Borders.
Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

Gently, gently. That's how babies should be handled, and it was the prime consideration when a team of Rice University seniors developed a device that could save babies' lives.

Related Articles


The Baby Bubbler -- or in its more technical guise, the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device -- helps children with acute respiratory infections breathe naturally as they recover. According to the World Health Organization, about 20 percent of deaths in children under 5 are caused by acute lower respiratory infections; 90 percent of those deaths are caused by pneumonia.

Rice's global health team recognized the need for a portable device for infants that can be taken to countries lacking resources for medical equipment.

"Our device is not a replacement for a ventilator -- it's a respiratory support device," said Heather Machen, an attending physician in the emergency center and assistant professor of pediatrics at Texas Children's Hospital, who advised the students. "Unlike a ventilator, a patient must be able to breathe on his or her own. With the use of CPAP, many children will be able to recover without a ventilator."

The Baby Bubbler has two main components, said Michael Pandya, a Lubbock, Texas, native who developed it with four other seniors.

One component, a flow generator, pumps air through a tube and allows clinicians to add oxygen if needed. The tube goes from the generator to the infant, who breathes through nasal prongs, and then to the second component, a water bottle that serves as a regulator. "The pressure level to the patient can be changed by adjusting the depth of water in the bottle," Pandya said.

An alarm to detect backflow of water into the line warns doctors if the circuit loses pressure. "It's a simple design, but it's incredibly important in developing countries where the nurse-to-patient ratio is sometimes one nurse for 40 or so patients," he said.

Members of the Baby Bubbler team also included Jocelyn Brown of Pittsburgh, Joseph Chang of Lexington, Mass., Haruka Maruyama of Tokyo, and Katie Schnelle of Cincinnati.

Brown served double duty as the only bioengineering student on the five-member infantAIR team, which brought the Baby Bubbler to Rwanda this spring as part of a global health technology commercialization class offered at Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business. The team subsequently won $11,750 in the prestigious Rice Business Plan Competition, including first prize for Best Social Venture, and earned honors for Best Engineering Design in Service to Society in this year's Brown School of Engineering Design Showcase.

"This team has been great at understanding the design challenges and addressing them head-on," said Maria Oden, professor in the practice of engineering education and director of Rice's Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, where much of the work was done. Bioengineers at Texas Children's helped students check the flows and pressures of their device. "That's been very valuable," she said.

Prototypes, which cost about $140 to make, will travel with students this summer as part of Rice's global health initiative, Beyond Traditional Borders. They will be demonstrated in Malawi and Lesotho, the first step toward clinical testing.

In addition, Machen is recruiting local physicians interested in piloting the device and educational materials in their hospitals. "Their input and involvement will be vital to the success of this project," she said.

"The United Nations has designated reducing under-5 mortality by two-thirds by 2015 as one of its Millennium Development Goals," said Machen, who credited Texas Children's Steven Abrams, a neonatologist, and Suzanne Iniguez, a respiratory therapy educator, for their help in realizing the project. "We hope that this bubble CPAP will contribute toward achieving that goal."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rice University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rice University. "'Baby Bubbler': Student invention helps infants with respiratory ailments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100607111316.htm>.
Rice University. (2010, June 9). 'Baby Bubbler': Student invention helps infants with respiratory ailments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100607111316.htm
Rice University. "'Baby Bubbler': Student invention helps infants with respiratory ailments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100607111316.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The MelaFind device is a pain-free way to check suspicious moles for melanoma, without the need for a biopsy. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battling Multiple Myeloma

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The answer isn’t always found in new drugs – repurposing an ‘old’ drug that could mean better multiple myeloma treatment, and hope. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) New information that is linking chronic inflammation in the prostate and prostate cancer, which may help doctors and patients prevent cancer in the future. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) Blood transfusions are proving crucial to young sickle cell patients by helping prevent strokes, even when there is no outward sign of brain injury. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins