Less stress for child and parents30 October 2013
It’s a nightmare for expecting parents: your child is born prematurely, and has to spend weeks in an incubator covered in electrodes and wires connected to monitors. Doctoral candidate Sibrecht Bouwstra developed creations that ease the experience for both child and parents.
The chance of survival for premature babies has increased substantially over the past decades. And it’s a good thing, too, because the number of babies that’s born prematurely has seen a significant increase as well in the Netherlands. Reasons for that include the fact that because of IVF and the rising age of motherhood more and more twins are born. And unfortunately, premature, underweight twins are common.
In the Netherlands, babies born in the 24th week of pregnancy or later are treated actively, says designer Sibrecht Bouwstra. From that moment there’s a chance they survive, thanks to the current standard of medicine. Still, such an early start often has undesired consequences. “At a later age, premature children have a greater chance of developing learning disabilities and behavioral issues, for example.”
To prevent problems that may occur later in life it’s important a premature baby develops as well as possible at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). And that’s a problem, because not only does an incubator baby start off with an obvious disadvantage, but there’s a lack of supportive (physical) contact with its parents as well. The conditions – electrodes, wires monitoring its temperature, heart rate, and blood oxygen level – make that difficult. These circumstances cause stress in the child, causing an impeded development.
“Physical contact with a parent relieves stress, and has a positive effect on the child”, says Bouwstra. “It’s one of the reasons to perform so-called Kangaroo care, where the baby is transferred from the incubator to one of the parents in a chair to hold the baby skin-to-skin on the chest.”All stickers and wires are a hindrance, obviously, and the sight of an incubator baby is quite traumatic for the parents.
A bicycle, an iPad Air, a large bunch of flowers, and loads of people wanting to take pictures: Angeliki Rama is still a little stunned as she’s bestowed with presents and attention in Hall 3 of the Auditorium on Thursday morning. During a Computation lecture, Rector Frank Baaijens and a parade of journalists surprised the unsuspecting Electrical Engineering undergrad. She’s the ten thousandth student at TU/e right now.
TU/e is the best university of technology in the Netherlands according to the weekly magazine Elsevier in its annual publication of Best Studies. Not only that, but TU/e is also the favorite of professors and associate professors, 57% of whom agree that Eindhoven has the most top studies. In addition, Eindhoven students (54.5%) are, after Wageningen University (78.9%), the most satisfied with their own university.
Professor of Separations Technology Maaike Kroon, who was awarded the title New Scientist Science Talent of the Year last week, will be ending her career as full-time professor at TU/e on December 1. She will continue at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi (UAE). Kroon will remain affiliated with TU/e to supervise four of her PhD candidates until January 2017. Four other PhD students will be assigned to her colleagues, and one of them will join Kroon in Abu Dhabi.
TU/e is the biggest Dutch loser in the latest Times Higher Education university ranking. The British magazine puts TU/e in 176th position this year: a 32-position nosedive. Apart from Leiden (which went down three places), all other Dutch universities did better than last year. We now have twelve universities in the top-200 again, with Wageningen even making it into the top-50.
TU/e has appointed Dr. Steven Vos part-time professor in the new ‘Design & Analysis of Intelligent Systems for Leisure Time Sports & Vitality’ chair whose focus is to promote public health by offering predominantly less experienced sportsman new, smart resources to stay healthy and exercise in a healthy way. One of the keys to this is our ability to derive knowledge from the ever growing stream of data that are becoming available via smartphones and apps, for example, about our sport and exercise behavior.