New study suggests sugar may not be as sweet of an analgesic for newborns
Friday, September 3, 2010 - 14:27
A new study out of University College London counters the once popular belief that that giving a small amount of sugar solution to newborns helps relieve pain from needle pricks.
Dr. Rebeccah Slater and colleagues conducted a study of 59 newborns. Half the babies were given either sterile water or a tiny amount of sucrose solution, on their tongues about two minutes before needle pricks to the heel.
They found that in effect, the sugar’s only effect was to modify the babies’ facial expressions, giving caregivers the false impression that they were not experiencing any kind of suffering. The babies' leg reflexes also indicated they still felt pain despite receiving the sugar.
The study, published in the popular medical journal, The Lancet, demonstrates an important and key measurement to evaluating pain management in newborn babies, but commentators agree that larger studies will be needed to test for more subtle effects.
To read the full summary of the study, as published in The Lancet, click here.