Sugar for newborns does not relieve pain: study

Sep 02, 2010

Contrary to international guidelines, sugar given to newborn babies does not ease pain, according to a study published on Thursday by The Lancet.

In 2001, doctors published recommendations, based on a series of trials, that oral sucrose be administered to newborns to help relieve pain from invasive procedures.

But a new look suggests that sucrose does not reduce pain signals in the brain or , but merely changes the babies' facial expression, which gives a false impression that pain is being relieved.

Rebeccah Slater of University College London and colleagues pricked the heels of 59 with a small blade -- a procedure that was required anyway to draw a blood sample -- and monitored pain activity in the brain and spine using electrode caps.

The infants were assigned either sterile water or a sucrose solution, placed on the tongue by a tiny syringe.

Pain activity did not differ significantly between the two groups.

"The absence of evidence for an analgesic action of sucrose in this study, together with uncertainty over the long-term benefits of repeated sucrose administration, suggest that sucrose should not be used routinely for procedural pain in infants without further investigation," Slater's team said.

Explore further: AncientBiotics - a medieval remedy for modern day superbugs?

Related Stories

Better tools needed for assessing infant pain

Jun 24, 2008

Currently used pain assessment tools may be underestimating the pain response in infants according to a study published in the open access journal PLoS Medicine this week. Dr Slater and colleagues (University College London ...

Carrot cake study on sugar in type 2 diabetes

Jan 08, 2008

Patients with type 2 diabetes are often advised to cut out sucrose (table sugar) all together. However, in recent years this traditional advice has been questioned by some researchers who suggest that moderate amounts of ...

Recommended for you

'Google Maps' for the body: A biomedical revolution

12 hours ago

A world-first UNSW collaboration that uses previously top-secret technology to zoom through the human body down to the level of a single cell could be a game-changer for medicine, an international research ...

New compounds could offer therapy for multitude of diseases

14 hours ago

An international team of more than 18 research groups has demonstrated that the compounds they developed can safely prevent harmful protein aggregation in preliminary tests using animals. The findings raise hope that a new ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.