Beneficial Effects of Sweet Stimuli on Nociception in Adult Humans

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Takahiro Kakeda, MSN, RN, PHN
Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health and Welfare, Kawasaki University of Medical Welfare, Kurashiki-city, Okayama, Japan
Misae Ito, MSN, RN, NMW
Department of Nursing, Kawasaki University of Medical Welfare, Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan

Learning Objective 1: understand about sweet substance-induced analgesia in adults.

Learning Objective 2: realize non-pharmacological intervention by sucrose stimuli.

Background: Sucrose-induced analgesia (SIA) has been known as non-pharmacological intervention for pain relief in both rat pups and infants. The mechanism underlying SIA is suggested to be mediated by the central regulating systems such as the endogenous opioids system, taking advantage of sweet taste. This effect is produced by the sweet sensation rather than by the absorption of sucrose. The SIA has been frequently investigated for the pain relief in infants but less so for SIA in adults why the effects are known to decline with growth in rats and infants. The aim of study is to examine whether the sucrose stimulus induce the analgesic effects on nociception in adults.
Methods: This study was carried out a randomized control with crossover study. Twenty healthy males and 20 healthy females participated in this study. Experimental pain was induced using the cold pressor test (CPT), and subjects immersed their hand in cold water. Subjects held a 24% sucrose solution and distilled water as a control in their mouths before and during CPT, respectively. Pain reactivity was measured by six instruments: pain threshold, pain tolerance, α-amylase value in saliva, psychological ratings with the profile of mood states, each visual analogue scales (VAS) score of pain and taste. Subjects signed a consent form after the purpose and procedures of this study had been explained. This study is approved by the ethical committee at the research institution at Kawasaki University.
Results: The pain threshold increased significantly (p<0.05) when male adults held sucrose solution in the mouth relative to distilled water. However, no significant difference in female adults was observed.
Conclusion: These finding suggest that the sucrose stimulus could induce the anti-nociceptive effects in male adults. In addition, the gender differences raise the possibility of involvement in expression of sucrose analgesia.