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Researchers from the Department of Paediatrics have found that gently stroking a baby seems to reduce activity in the infant brain associated with painful experiences.

Mother holding her baby's hand

Researchers have found that gently stroking a baby seems to reduce activity in the infant brain associated with painful experiences. The results, published in the journal Current Biology, suggest that lightly brushing an infant at a speed of approximately 3cm per second could provide effective pain relief before clinically necessary medical procedures.

'Parents intuitively stroke their babies at this optimal velocity,' says senior author Rebeccah Slater, professor of paediatric science at the University of Oxford, who worked alongside collaborators from Liverpool John Moores University. 'If we can better understand the neurobiological underpinnings of techniques like infant massage, we can improve the advice we give to parents on how to comfort their babies.'

Read more (University of Oxford website)

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