Introducing the Reiter HIE Research Fund!

Jesse Reiter, owner of ABC Law Centers, is excited to announce the establishment of the Reiter HIE Research Fund. This fund supports the research of Dr. John Barks, who is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Director of the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at the University of Michigan. Dr. Barks’ clinical and laboratory work is critical to the development of new treatments for newborns with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).

Jesse has committed to supporting research by Dr. Barks and colleagues. Others are also welcome and encouraged to contribute to this fund (click here for an online donation link).

About Dr. John Barks

Jesse Reiter (left) and Dr. John Barks (right) at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Barks to discuss his career and research. He told us about his lifelong interest in the brain’s inner workings, and how that interest drew him to neonatal intensive care medicine. More specifically, he focuses on investigating potential treatments for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a type of brain injury that occurs when an infant is deprived of oxygenated blood flow to the brain around the time of birth.

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy can have profound impacts on a child’s development, often resulting in intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, and many other health issues. However, this type of brain injury is a process rather than an instantaneous event. The initial oxygen-depriving insult (which often occurs during birth) sets off a chain reaction in which cells become injured, die, and release substances that are toxic to other cells.

As Dr. Barks emphasized during our conversation, infants with HIE may benefit greatly from treatments that interfere with this chain reaction. Currently, the main treatment modality is therapeutic hypothermia, in which newborns with HIE are cooled to about 91 degrees Fahrenheit for three days and then slowly re-warmed. Dr. Barks’ research was instrumental in establishing therapeutic hypothermia as a standard treatment for HIE, and he continues to further our knowledge of therapeutic hypothermia as a neuroprotective agent. Among other topics, he investigates the following:

  • Safety and effectiveness of different types of therapeutic hypothermia (e.g. whole body cooling v. selective head cooling)
  • The circumstances under which therapeutic hypothermia is most beneficial
  • How to manage complications associated with HIE (e.g. seizures) in neonates undergoing therapeutic hypothermia
  • Treatments that could be used in conjunction with therapeutic hypothermia and further improve outcomes (i.e. combination therapies)

In addition to being a research professor, Dr. Barks holds the following titles at the University of Michigan:

  • Director of the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
  • Director of Neonatology Research
  • Co-director of the Brain Research and Innovative Neurological
  • Care for Newborns (B.R.A.I.N. Care) Program

About Jesse Reiter and ABC Law Centers

Jesse Reiter is the owner of ABC Law Centers, a birth injury firm based out of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Since the firm’s inception in 1997, Jesse and the rest of the ABC Law Centers legal team have been advocating for children with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and other conditions that can result from medical malpractice around the time of birth. Outside of the courtroom, Jesse and other firm members work to promote safer medical practices and advancements in treatment for children with HIE and other birth injuries.

Interested in donating to the Reiter HIE Research Fund?

Please click here to make an online contribution.