Local neuroscientist offers technology to family of 13-year-old girl on life support

iBrain could help see if Jahi McMath is brain dead

SAN DIEGO - A local neuroscientist is offering new technology to the family of a 13-year-old girl in Oakland who was declared brain dead.

Late Monday afternoon, a judge extended life support for Jahi McMath until Jan. 7. 

Neurovigil founder Philip Low had been calling hospitals and doctors, trying to get a hospital to accept McMath, ahead of a 5 p.m. Monday deadline, when the girl was scheduled to be taken off life support.

Jahi's family says she went into cardiac arrest Dec. 9 during a routine tonsillectomy at an Oakland hospital.

A court-ordered exam deemed her brain dead and a judge ruled she could be taken off life support at 5 p.m. Monday.

Her family has fought to keep her alive, saying she was responding to her mother's touch.

Low joined the fight, offering new technology to determine if she is clinically brain dead.

"If I had a daughter and she were in that situation, I would want to know," said Low.

10News last caught up with Low in May, as he refined the iBrain, the world's first mobile brain scanner. It is designed to map brain wave patterns that can be matched up to various thoughts.

The brain waves of famed physicist Stephen Hawking have been mapped.

Low says his technology, which can produce high-resolution brain wave imagery -- can help determine if Jahi is truly brain dead.           

He will soon be conducting a similar test on former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in a vegetative state since 2006.

He hoped to conduct that test for Jahi by first working with the family to get her transferred to another hospital.

Two California facilities had already backed out. Each facility he contacted declined to intervene.

As the hours marched on, the options dwindled.          

"There's a sense of urgency, and a sense of helplessness," said Low.

Then around 4 p.m., there was a surprise reprieve as a judge extended the deadline.

"This is very positive, and I applaud the judge for what he's done," said Low.

The family says a New York facility has agreed to admit Jahi.

Low says he will offer to send a team to New York to perform tests. 

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