In the Era of Therapeutic Hypothermia, How Well Do Studies of Perinatal Neuroprotection Control Temperature?

Lead researcher

Dr Robert Galinsky

Main finding

In this study we systematically reviewed preclinical neuroprotection studies reported between January 2014 and June 2016 to assess the use of effective temperature monitoring and control. As a secondary measure, we examined whether these studies addressed other important methodological issues, such as the stage of brain development, sex differences, the timing of the treatment relative to the insult, and the duration of follow-up for histological and functional endpoints after hypoxia ischaemia. Our main finding was that only a minority of studies rigorously monitored and controlled body and brain temperatures. Thus, many recent studies cannot exclude the possibility that their findings could have been confounded by unappreciated changes in brain temperature due to drug-induced cooling or environmental conditions.


The Ritchie Centre

Research group

Fetal Physiology and Neuroscience (Auckland, New Zealand)


Dr Justin Dean, Mr Christopher Lear, Dr Joanne Davidson, Ms Simerdeep Dhillon, Mr Guido Wassink, Prof Laura Bennet, Prof Alistair Gunn

Journal and article title

Most surprising

A minority of recent preclinical studies into perinatal neuroprotection monitored body and / or brain temperature, examined outcomes from both sexes, applied realistic (clinically translational) treatment protocols and assessed long term histological and functional outcomes as part of their experimental protocol.

Future implications

If this critical information is not presented in the publications, it is not possible to assess the significance of past and future studies investigating perinatal neuroprotectants in a meaningful way.

Disease/health impact

Perinatal neuroprotection