The University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Pain

155 College Street

Suite 300, Room 302

Toronto, Ontario

M5T 1P8

Tel: 416-946-8270

Fax: 416-978-0817



The Mary Poppins solution: Sugar reduces needle pain for babies

Mary Poppins was singing the right tune about how to make the medicine go down, according to a new analysis.

Researchers did a review of previous studies looking at whether sugar water solutions helped babies with pain when they were being immunized

Slow moves to battle body pain

Modern medicine enlists gentle exercise of qigong


Marijuana effective in reducing pain, study shows

A team of Montreal researchers has lent scientific credibility to the view that smoking marijuana can ease chronic neuropathic pain and help patients sleep better.

Women may adapt faster to pain than men

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Ouch! That hurts!

Childhood vaccinations don’t have to be painful, say SickKids researchers

TORONTO – Most people associate childhood vaccinations with pain, but new Canadian research shows this doesn’t have to be the case.

Reduced Infant Response to a Routine Care Procedure After Sucrose Analgesia


OBJECTIVES:  Sucrose has analgesic and calming effects in newborns.  To date, it is not known whether the beneficial effects extend to caregiving procedures that are performed after pain procedures.  Our objective was to determine the effect of sucrose analgesia for procedural pain on infant pain responses during a subsequent caregiving procedure

PATIENTS AND METHODS:  We conducted a double-blind, randomized, controlled, trial.  Healthy neonates within 2 strata (normal infants and infants of diabetic mothers) were randomly assigned to a sucrose or placebo water group before all needle procedures after birth.  Pain response during a diaper change performed after venipuncture for the newborn screening test was determined by using a validated multidimensional measure, the Premature Infant Pain Profile.

RESULTS:  The study was conducted between September 15, 2003, and July 27, 2004.  Altogether, 412 parents were approached; 263 consented.  Twenty-three infants were not assigned, leaving 240 for participation (n = 120 per group), with an equal number of each infant strata.  Of those, 186 (78%) completed the study.  There were no significant differences in birth characteristics between groups.  During diaper change, sucrose-treated infants had lower pain scores than placebo-treated infants.  The relative risk of having pain, defined as a Premature Infant Pain Profile score of >6, was 0.64 with sucrose compared to placebo.

CONCLUSION:  This study demonstrates that when used to manage pain, sucrose reduces the pain  response to a subsequent routine caregiving procedure.  Therefore, the benefits of sucrose analgesia extend beyond the painful event to other aversive and potentially painful procedures.  Pediatrics 2009:123:e425-e429

Dismissed and undiagnosed

Sufferers visit gynecologists, urologists and naturopaths in search of relief - only to be told it's 'all in their heads.' But chronic vulvar pain is real, medical researchers say, and it may affect one in six women

Interfaculty Pain Curriculum: Lessons learned from six years experience

Minimal pain content has been documented in pre-licensure curricula and students lack important pain knowledge at graduation. To address this problem, we have implemented and evaluated a mandatory Interfaculty Pain Curriculum (IPC) yearly since 2002 for students (from Dentistry,  Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, and Occupational Therapy as part of their 2nd or 3rd year program.  Evaluation methods based on Kirkpatrick’s model now include evaluation of a Comprehensive Pain Management Plan alongwith the previously used Pain Knowledge and Beliefs Questionnaire (PKPQ) and Daily Content and Process Questionnaires (DCPQ). Important lessons have been learned and subsequent changes made in this iterative curriculum design based on extensive evaluation over the 6-year period. Modifications have included case development more relevant to the diverse student groups, learning contexts that are uni-, inter-, and multi-professional, and facilitator development in working with interprofessional student groups. PKBQ scores have improved in all years with a statistically significant average change on correct responses from 14% to 17%. The DCPQ responses have also indicated consistently that most students (85–95%) rated highly the patient panel, expert-lead clinically focused sessions, and small interprofessional groups. Relevancy and organization of the information presented have been generally rated highly from 80.3% to 91.2%. This curriculum continues to be a unique and valuable learning opportunity as we utilize lessons learned from extensive evaluation to move the pain agenda forward with pre-licensure health science students.