Music Helps to Develop the Brain of Very Premature Babies

Dr. Amir Petrus Dawood




In Switzerland, nearly 1% of children are born prematurely (i.e. before 32 weeks of pregnancy). These neonates are at high risk of developing neuropsychological disorders.

Researchers at the University of Geneva, Switzerland proposed an original solution – music made especially for them!



The primary results of this approach were published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States, and they are surprising. Medical imaging revealed that the neural networks of premature infants who had listened to the music were developing much better. The neonatal intensive care unit at the hospitals of Geneva welcomes 80 premature infants annually. Half of them may later develop neurodevelopmental disorders, including learning difficulties, attentional disorders, or emotional disorders. As the hearing system is functional early on, music appears to be a good mean of treatment, but which musics? The instrument that generates the most positive reactions was the India snake charmers flute (the punji).

Very agitated children calmed down almost instantly, and their attention was drawn to the music.

An experiment with a group of premature infants who listened to the music, including a group of premature infants and a group of full- term newborn, was conducted and showed that the brain network organization in the premature infants developed similarily to that of full term infants.


References:

1. The Lancet Journal. 2. Medicalxpress.com


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