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HEALTH: Michigan State University students create possible breakthrough for infant jaundice
A possible breakthrough for babies with jaundice
Three Michigan State University engineering students have created a fiber-optic light blanket to help infants.
About 60 percent of infants are born with a high Biliruben count, which causes yellowing of the skin and eyes.
Patients are treated with light, either in an incubator or on a pad.
Students Oliver Bloom, Vu Hoang and Alexa Jones worked together on their senior project to develop a prototype "Swaddle-Mi-Bili."
The fiber-optic blanket is covered in a breathable plastic that can be used in a hospital setting.
It slips inside an infant's blanket, so the mother can hold the child while it receives light treatment.
The students began working on the project last October.
They spent time at hospitals talking with nurses and new mothers.
"When we went to the hospitals, we kind of noticed that the baby is just kind of left sitting there for the most part, and so you can only imagine what the mother would feel like."
The project has already won two business awards in Michigan.
The students are headed to an international competition in Utah next week.
They say "Swaddle-Mi-Bili" is a long way from entering the marketplace however.
The graduating seniors say they'll continue to work together in the coming months to find funding and support to make the blanket a reality.