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Stroking modulates noxious-evoked brain activity in human infants

Gursul, D; Goksan, S; Hartley, C; Mellado, GS; Moultrie, F; Hoskin, A; Adams, E; ... Slater, R; + view all (2018) Stroking modulates noxious-evoked brain activity in human infants. [Letter]. Current Biology , 28 (24) R1380-R1381. 10.1016/j.cub.2018.11.014. Green open access

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Abstract

A subclass of C fibre sensory neurons found in hairy skin are activated by gentle touch [1] and respond optimally to stroking at ∼1-10 cm/s, serving a protective function by promoting affiliative behaviours. In adult humans, stimulation of these C-tactile (CT) afferents is pleasant, and can reduce pain perception [2]. Touch-based techniques, such as infant massage and kangaroo care, are designed to comfort infants during procedures, and a modest reduction in pain-related behavioural and physiological responses has been observed in some studies [3]. Here, we investigated whether touch can reduce noxious-evoked brain activity. We demonstrate that stroking (at 3 cm/s) prior to an experimental noxious stimulus or clinical heel lance can attenuate noxious-evoked brain activity in infants. CT fibres may represent a biological target for non-pharmacological interventions that modulate pain in early life. Supplemental Information contains two figures and experimental procedures, and can be found with this article online at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2018.11.014.

Type: Article
Title: Stroking modulates noxious-evoked brain activity in human infants
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.11.014
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2018.11.014
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10065547
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