Thursday, August 24, 2017

A New Brain Measure of Nociception in Infants | Pain Research Forum

Unlike adults, infants can't tell you if they're in pain. Instead, clinicians must interpret behaviors such as crying and physiological measures such as heart rate to determine what a newborn is experiencing. Since these can occur for reasons unrelated to nociception, the pain field has long sought more objective ways to measure pain in this nonverbal population. Now, in a new study, investigators have identified pain-related brain activity in infants that could be measured with a simple electroencephalogram (EEG) recording and used the activity to create an EEG template that allowed them to test the efficacy of an analgesic.

A team led by Rebeccah Slater, University of Oxford, UK, found that the EEG template of brain activity correlated with the presence and intensity of pain-related behavior and validated the template across four independent samples of infants. Intriguingly, a topical analgesic dampened the brain signal, showing how the new approach could be used to assess the effect of pain medications in infants undergoing painful procedures.

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