Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Community Health Sciences, The Institute for Molecular Pediatric Sciences
(773) 702-3095 — Phone
(773) 834-5964 — Fax
View a partial list of
Lawrence Gray’s publications through the National Library of Medicine's PubMed online database
My research focuses on using a mother’s natural soothing abilities to provide analgesia to her newborn infant during minor painful procedures. Several components of the mother-infant breastfeeding interaction have been shown effective in providing infants with pain reduction during the pain of a heel prick procedure. While mother’s calming has no doubt protected infants throughout evolutionary time, the mechanisms of this protection and the possible physiological and regulatory benefit of this protection is far from being understood.
Two ongoing projects explore the different aspects of the benefits of early mother-infant interactions.
Metabolic effects of Analgesic Tastes. The goal of this project is to examine the possible metabolic and physiological advantages to the infant of the soothing provided by sucrose taste. Many infants now receive sucrose taste as part of their pain analgesia for heelstick procedures and to complement other analgesic methods during circumcision. While the behavioral and heart rate data of sucrose analgesia strongly supports this use, this study explores the possible metabolic advantages and physiological regulation that sucrose taste provides.
International Adoption and Stress Response Study. The goal of this project is to explore the possible effects detrimental regulatory effects of institutionalized care on children who have been internationally adopted. Many children who come to the United States though the process of international adoption are initially reared in less than optimal infant care and nurturing environments prior to their adoption. Their new adoptive parents often have to deal with multiple medical problems and difficult behaviors when they arrive in the United States. This study compares the behavioral and physiological stress response patterns of these children to children reared in typical US homes. This comparison will shed light on some of the differences internationally adopted children may have compared to their new peers and offer a better understanding of the initial challenges faced by adoptive parents.