Does gentle touch reduce infant pain-related brain activity?
A collaboration with Liverpool John Moores University
Inspired by Francis McGlone
In infants, massage has been shown to reduce pain-related behavioural and physiological responses, but the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying this are unknown. In adults, slow, stroking touch activates C-tactile (CT) fibres in the skin, which are believed to convey information about pleasant, affective touch. CT-targeted touch has been demonstrated to reduce adult pain-related brain activity and self reports of pain perception. We are testing whether CT-targeted touch also reduces pain-related brain activity in infants, by performing slow, gentle stroking touch prior to both experimental and clinically necessary painful procedures, and using electroencephalography (EEG) to measure the resulting brain activity.