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Jane C. Evans, Ph.D., R.N., received a grant of $961,000 from the National Institute of Nursing Research, a division of National Institute of Health to study premature infant responses to painful procedures.
Dr. Evans, principal investigator of the study, states that, "recent research indicates that premature infants feel pain more intensely and for longer periods of time than do older children and adults". Many times the care prescribed to make premature infants well, is also a source of pain to their fragile bodies. Dr. Evans says that it is her mission to ease the pain these babies feel.
Dr. Evans and her research team, made up of faculty at UT and clinicians at The Children's Medical Center of Northwest Ohio, are focusing their study on premature infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Children's Hospital of Northwest Ohio. Approximately 80 premature infants who are born at different gestational periods are being studied to measure their responses to normal care giving activities, including those that might cause pain. Four cameras about the size of a lipstick tube are focused on each baby. The team is observing facial expressions, while a computer captures their heart rate, oxygen levels and other physiological responses. Once a bedside measure of pain has been validated, the team will seek funding to treat each type of infant pain.