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A baby’s brain can tell the difference in a diaper’s material, and experiences a “feels good” tactile sense

Professor Kazuyuki Shinohara of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, in collaboration with Unicharm Corporation (Head office in Mita, Tokyo, President Takahisa Takahara), measured blood flow changes in the brains of infants by NIRS* to study the tactile sense of babies. The results demonstrated that babies distinguish the tactile sense of the material of disposable diapers, and are aware of the pleasantness of the feeling of the material.

[Professor Shinohara’s comment]

Considering the babies show behavior such as finger sucking even in the mother’s womb, it is possible that their sense of touch develops faster than the other senses. However, regarding the actual condition of a baby’s sense of touch, measurement is difficult, and there has been no study examining it in detail so far. Furthermore, the skin around a baby’s buttocks is wrapped in diapers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from the time of birth. We conducted research in collaboration with Unicharm Corporation using brain science indicators to determine how babies actually feel the tactile stimulation of disposable diapers on their delicate skin. The results suggested that babies can tell the difference in the material of disposable diapers from the feeling around the buttocks, and that the sense of comfort differs depending on the material. We learned that the tactile sense around a baby’s buttocks develops from a few months after birth, and has a delicate sensitivity. By further research on a baby’s sense of touch, we hope to elucidate the mechanism of physical contact, leading to the development of better products.

Visit the Unicharm Corporation website for more information.

*NIRS: Near Infra-Red Spectroscopy