Sugar 'comforts babies during immunisations'

            Babies given sugar beforehand cried less

It appears that sugar really may help the medicine go down - studies suggest a few drops can comfort babies who are having their jabs.

The Cochrane team reviewed 14 studies involving more than 1,500 infants going for routine childhood immunisations or a heel-prick blood test.

Babies given a sugary solution to suck as they were about to be injected cried far less than those given water.

While sugar may pacify, it is unclear if it also relieves pain.

Experts say more research is needed to explore this.

A small study published a couple of years ago in The Lancet medical journal looked at the responses of 44 infants given either sugar or water as they had a heel-prick blood test.

The sugar did not appear to make a difference to pain - all babies similarly grimaced and had comparable electrical activity measured with EEG readings in areas of the brain that process pain.

The lead researcher in the Cochrane review, Dr Manal Kassab of the Jordan University of Science and Technology in Irib, Jordan, said: "Giving babies something sweet to taste before injections may stop them from crying for as long.

"Although we can't confidently say that sugary solutions reduce needle pain, these results do look promising."

- BBC.co.uk


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