London: Babies begin to recognise pain much before they are born, a new study has claimed.Researchers at the University College London found that infants learn to tell the difference between pain and touch as early as the 35th week of pregnancy.For their research, the team measured the brain waves of 25 normal-term and 21 premature babies to look for differences in activity.As the electroencephalograph (EEG) recordings were made the infants had samples of blood taken by lancing their heels, a routine standard procedure.Among premature babies, the heel lances produced general bursts of electrical activity in the brain. But after 35 to 37 weeks the babies` response switched to localised activity in specific brain areas.This showed they were perceiving pain stimulation as an experience separate from touch, said the scientists.Dr Lorenzo Fabrizi, who led the research, said: "We are asking a fundamental question about human development in this study: When do babies start to distinguish between sensations?
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