There may be sweet solutions to pain response in premature infants, according to two recent studies in the March 1996

Archives of Disease in Childhood, Fetal and Neonatal Edition.

In the first study, 15 healthy premature infants, 32 to 34 weeks postmenstrual age and no more than 24 hours old, received 1 ml of either 25 percent sucrose solution or sterile water by syringe on the anterior tongue approximately two minutes before undergoing heel pricks for glucose or bilirubin tests.

Among infants receiving the sucrose, there was a significant reduction in: duration of the first cry; percentage of time spent crying within five minutes after heel prick; and perceived pain (based on scoring facial expressions and crying).

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