Despite marked improvements in perinatal practice, perinatal brain injury remains one of the most common complications causing chronic handicapping conditions. Experimental advances have elucidated many of the cellular and vascular mechanisms of perinatal brain damage showing a correlation between the nature of the injury and the maturation of the brain. New diagnostic tools, such as quantitative three-dimensional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, diffusion-weighted MR imaging and proton MR spectroscopy, are presented in this review article that allow to assess brain development, detect early brain injury and monitor effects of perinatal brain injury on subsequent brain development and brain plasticity. These techniques will guide future therapeutic interventions aimed at minimizing irreversible perinatal brain injury.
Copyright 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel