New Monitor Can Measure Newborn Pain
They can’t say where it hurts. Using electrodes placed near the soft spots at the tops of babies’ heads, researchers say they’ve been able to quantify infants’ pain. In controlled testing, the Cz electrode picked up a spike between 400 and 700 milliseconds after each painful event, but it didn’t register responses to things like nonpainful touches or loud noises. It’s not foolproof — not all babies’ brains respond to pain the same way — but it’s an improvement from relying on crying, grimacing and wiggling, which aren’t always indicators of distress.