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Papers: 25 May 2024 - 31 May 2024

2024 May 28

Pediatr Res


Brain health in preterm infants: importance of early-life pain and analgesia exposure.


Selvanathan T, Miller SP


“Everyday” exposures in the neonatal period, such as pain, may impact brain health in preterm infants. Specifically, greater exposure to painful procedures in the initial weeks after birth have been related to abnormalities in brain maturation and growth and poorer neurodevelopmental outcomes in preterm infants. Despite an increasing focus on the importance of treating pain in preterm infants, there is a lack of consensus of optimal approaches to managing pain in this population. This may be due to recent findings suggesting that commonly used analgesic and sedative medications in preterm infants may also have adverse effects of brain maturation and neurodevelopmental outcomes. This review provides an overview of potential impacts of pain and analgesia exposure on preterm brain health while highlighting research areas in need of additional investigations for the development of optimal pain management strategies in this population.