Washington, June 25 : Researchers at University College London say that a brain scan study conducted by them suggests that prematurely born babies may be in pain without exhibiting any of its signs.
Lead researcher Rebeccah Slater revealed that the brains of prematurely born babies were scanned as blood was taken from their heel for routine analysis.
The researcher said that a part of the brain known to register pain in adults, known as the somatosensory cortex, was found to be activated in the 33 scans they conducted on 12 babies.
Slater also revealed that in 10 of these procedures, the babies did not grimace or show outward signs of pain.
"The measurements don't necessarily correlate with what is happening in the brain," New Scientist magazine quoted Slater as saying.
The researcher revealed that the team would next study whether pain relief could shut down activity in babies' brains.
A research article describing the study has been published in the journal PLoS Medicine.