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A few drops of sugar water help most newborn babies to stop crying, says psychologist Barbara Smith of Johns Hopkins University.

She and her colleagues worked for three years with babies 7 to 75 hours old. When the babies cried, small amounts of sugar water stopped the squalling for several minutes, Smith says. Babies who didn't get the sugary drops kept on crying, she says. Sugar, she theorizes, triggers the release of endorphins, the brain's natural painkillers.

Parents shouldn't overdo the sugar because it can cause dental decay and other problems, she cautions.

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