Menu Close

Carlo Valerio Bellieni

Professor of Pediatrics, Università di Siena

I am a Professor of Paediatrics. I've worked as a neonatologist and paediatrician in the Siena University Hospital since 1993. I've published more than 400 papers and 15 books.

My main research interest is pain and stress prevention in childhood and neonates. In particular, I have devoted most of my research to pain assessment, and I have developed a pain scale ("ABC scale") that scores pain through the features of babies' crying. I studied both affective and spectral characteristics of babies' crying, and this has brought my studies into two directions: the ethics of pain treatment of those subjects who cannot speak, and the study of crying.

In the former field, I am member of the Ethics Committee of my Hospital and of the ethical Committee of theTuscany Region Presidency; I have been invited as an expert to several places, among which the Italian Committee of Bioethics, and the The Ethics Commission of Mexico. I have recently published a textbook on paediatric palliative care (A New Holistic-Evolutive Approach to Paediatric Palliative Care), where I deal with therapies and ethics of children's treatment, and an essay on the difference between weeping and crying. These researches have highlighted the importance of rhythmic behaviours for the homeostasis of children and adults: sucking, breathing, chewing, walking are substantial for health; to these I have recently added laughter.

Laughter is a behaviour used in paediatrics to help heal hospitalised children (see Clown-therapy); I wanted to analyse this behaviour in-depth with a review of all literature on laughter (in English) over the last 10 years which resulted in the paper Laughter: A signal of ceased alarm toward a perceived incongruity between life and stiffness.

I have an h-index = 22, and have been invited to have conferences in more than 300 congresses worldwide.

Some media coverage of my studies:

Recent pubblications:
Bellieni CV: A new holistic-evolutive approach to pediatric palliative care. Springer, 2022
Bellieni CV: Laughter: A signal of ceased alarm toward a perceived incongruity between life and stiffness. New Ideas in Psychoilogy, 2022
Bellieni CV. Neonatal Infant Pain Scale in assessing pain and pain relief for newborn male circumcision. Int J Impot Res. 2022 Mar 29. doi: 10.1038/s41443-022-00551-x. Epub ahead of print.
Ilhan E, Pacey V, Brown L, Spence K, van Ganzewinkel CJ, Pillai Riddell R, Campbell-Yeo M, Stevens BJ, Eriksson M, Shah V, Anand KJS, Bellieni C, Daly M, Johnston C, Hush J. What is the definition of acute episodic and chronic pain in critically ill neonates and infants? A global, four-stage consensus and validation study. BMJ Open. 2022 Mar 9;12(3):e055255.
Bellieni CV, Aloisi AM, Doheny KK, Flores-Muñoz MA. Editorial: Neonatal Procedural Pain Management. Front Pediatr. 2021 Oct 27;9:783290.
Bellieni CV. The Congress "Yes to Life": A Hand Offered in Dialogue. Perspect Biol Med. 2020;63(3):506-508.
Bellieni CV. Nurses and Doctors Heroes? A Risky Myth of the COVID19 Era. Nurs Rep. 2020 Sep 28;10(2):37-40.
Bellieni CV. Analgesia for fetal pain during prenatal surgery: 10 years of progress. Pediatr Res. 2021 May;89(7):1612-1618.
Bellieni CV. Apgar Score-It Is Time to Avoid Pain. JAMA Pediatr. 2021 Feb 1;175(2):206-207.
Rossi S, Buonocore G, Bellieni CV. Management of pain in newborn Feltman DM, Moore GP, Beck AF, Siffermann E, Bellieni C, Lantos J. Seeking Normalcy as the Curve Flattens: Ethical Considerations for Pediatricians Managing Collateral Damage of Coronavirus Disease-2019. J Pediatr. 2020 Oct;225:233-238.


  • –present
    Professor of Pediatrics, Università di Siena


  • 1985 
    University of Siena, Medicine