Do infants sense pain?

Do infants sense pain?Yes, much as adults do, says a West German study at Heidelberg University. Only they cannot assess pain and communicate it. So far, the medical profession had maintained that infants do not have a fully developed nervous system and are therefore unable to sense much pain. Not surprisingly, a 1998 study conducted in the United States showed that only 6.7% of infants who were subjected to lumbar or morrow punctures were given pain killers. The rest only got sedatives.

Animal experiments and observations of babies have recently revealed that the psychological mechanics of pain perception is fully operational immediately after birth. The Heidelberg scientists studied reflexes typically connected with the experience of pain before coming to this conclusion. Their advise to pediatricians: if surgery is performed even an new born, sufficient pain suppression measures are required.

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