20th August 2016
By Sayer Ji
Contributing writer for Wake Up World
A concerning new study suggests that decades of medical procedures performed on infants without pain management has had deeply traumatizing effects.
A groundbreaking study published in eLife, titled “fMRI reveals neural activity overlap between adult and infant pain”, demonstrates that the infant pain experience, despite long held assumptions to the contrary, closely resembles that of adults.
Researchers discovered that when 1-6 day old babies were exposed to the same pain stimulus as adults, their brains “lit up” in almost exactly the same manner. More specifically, infant and adult pain responses were indistinguishable in 18 of the 20 regions observed through fMRI imaging. The only two brain regions that pain did not show activation in the infants were the amygdala and the orbitofrontal cortex: two regions believed to help with the interpretation of pain stimuli.