Carlo Bellieni

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Carlo V. Bellieni (Siena, Italy, 1962- )is an Italian neonatologist and a bioethicist.[1] He served as Secretary of the Bioethics Committee of the Italian Pediatrics Society,.[2] He is also a member of the ethical board of the Siena Biotech research facility, and of the Ethical Board of the Siena University Hospital, where he directs the neonatal intensive therapy unit.[3][4] He follows the empirical approach in bioethics. According to his studies, an ethical approach includes three main points: realism, reason and empathy. Bellieni is the author of many clinical research papers in international scientific journals, including studies on electromagnetic emission from neonatal incubators[5] and on pain in children,[6] and has written several books in Italian, Spanish, French, and English on neonatal pain and bioethics.

Studies on infants' pain[edit]

He created and developed a new method of nonpharmacological analgesia called "sensorial saturation",[7] based on the simultaneous administration of gentle stimuli (touch, taste and voice) to the baby during a painful procedure, reported among the most effective for pain in babies. Bellieni also performed studies on babies' crying, developing a pain scale based on the acoustical analysis of crying [8]

Studies on human crying and weeping[edit]

Neonatal crying analysis: Bellieni performed several analyses on babies' crying and showed that it is not useful to detect the cause that provoked it; nonetheless, it contain a sort of protolanguage, namely the patterns of crying change dramatically when it exceeds a certain pain threshold [9]

Meaning of weeping: Bellieni analysed the weeping behavior, and concluded that most animals can cry but only humans have psychoemotional shedding of tears, also known as “weeping”. Weeping is a behavior that induces empathy perhaps with the mediation of the mirror neurons network, and influences the mood through the release of hormones elicited by the massage effect made by the tears on the cheeks, or through the relief of the sobbing rhythm.[10]


  1. ^ Alfano, Sean (16 August 2006). "TV Can Reduce Stress For Kids". CBS.
  2. ^ "LIBRI: MEDICO CATTOLICO SCOPRE UN DOTTOR HOUSE BUONO /ANSA". Regione Toscana. 2 April 2009. Archived from the original on 7 September 2012.
  3. ^ Colina, Jesus (26 May 2010). "Vatican Considering Ethics of "Synthetic Life"".
  4. ^ Sanderson, Katharine (2008). "Incubators seen to change babies' heartbeats". Nature. doi:10.1038/news.2008.790.
  5. ^ "Worry over incubator 'emissions'". BBC News. 4 May 2008.
  6. ^ "TV 'can numb pain for children'". BBC News. 17 August 2006.
  7. ^ Bellieni CV, Buonocore G, Nenci A, Franci N, Cordelli DM, Bagnoli F (2001). "Sensorial saturation: an effective analgesic tool for heel-prick in preterm infants: a prospective randomized trial". Biology of the Neonate. 80 (1): 15–8. doi:10.1159/000047113. PMID 11474143.
  8. ^ Bellieni CV, et al. (2005). "Development and validation of the ABC pain scale for healthy full-term babies". Acta Paediatr. 94 (10): 1432–6. PMID 16299876.
  9. ^ Bellieni CV, et al. (2005). "Cry features reflect pain intensity in term newborns: an alarm threshold". Pediatric Research. 55 (1): 142–6. doi:10.1203/01.PDR.0000099793.99608.CB. PMID 14605260.
  10. ^ Bellieni CV (2017). "Meaning and importance of weeping". New Ideas in Psychology.

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