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A group of Australian and Canadian researchers have found that magnetic auricular acupressure (MAA) can reduce physiological pain responses during and after a painful eye exam for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in preterm infants. A total of 100 infants were randomised to MAA (using magnetic ear seeds) or placebo (using placebo stickers). Magnetic or placebo stickers were applied to both ears of the infants at least 60 min before the ROP exam. Placebo group infants had significantly higher pain scores both during and one hour after the procedure. Improved sympathetic pain response (indicated by lower heart rate and higher oxygen saturation) was observed in MAA infants.

Magnetic Non-invasive Auricular Acupuncture During Eye-Exam for Retinopathy of Prematurity in Preterm Infants: A Multicentre Randomized Controlled Trial, Front Pediatr. 2020 Dec 23;8:615008.