Giving a bit of sugar to a baby about to get a shot might reduce the pain, a large review of studies suggests.

Researchers reviewed data from 14 randomized trials using a sweet-tasting solution to treat pain from injections in babies less than a year old. Overall, babies who tasted a sweet solution cried less than those given a placebo, but the studies were difficult to compare because of varying methodologies. The analysis concludes that sugar is an effective anesthetic in reducing the amount of crying time.

"The effect of the sugar will last only about two minutes, so it should be given during the administration of the shot," said the lead author, Manal Kassab, an assistant professor at the Jordan University of Science and Technology. The reason for the effect is unclear, but some experts suggest sugar releases natural opioids, or that stimulating the taste receptors induces a feeling of comfort.


A large study has found that drinking coffee is associated with a reduced risk of death from oral cancer.

Researchers studied 968,432 initially healthy men and women beginning in 1982. Twenty-six years later, 868 people had died of oral or throat cancer.

After adjusting for smoking, alcohol consumption and other factors, the researchers found that the risk of death from oral or throat cancer was 26 percent lower among those who drank one cup a day, 33 percent lower among those who drank two to three cups daily, and 50 percent lower among those who drank four to six cups daily, compared with those who drank no caffeinated coffee.

There was a barely significant association of decaffeinated coffee with reduced risk, and no link at all to tea. The authors acknowledge that they could not distinguish whether coffee drinkers were less likely to get oral or throat cancer or more likely to survive it.


People who cross the street while using mobile devices are dangerously distracted from the task at hand: getting across quickly and safely.

Researchers in Seattle last summer watched more than 1,100 people crossing at busy intersections. Compared with undistracted pedestrians, people who were listening to music crossed an average of a half-second quicker; those talking on a hand-held phone spent three-quarters of a second longer in the street, people with hands-free devices one and one-third seconds longer. Texters took almost two seconds longer to get across and were about four times as likely as undistracted pedestrians to engage in at least one unsafe behavior.