Premature babies, thrust into a highly specialised neo-natal unit which protects them from the ravages of untimely birth, sorely miss the soothing maternal sound. But, new research shows how it can be revived. Research conducted by Amir Lahav, director of the Neonatal Research Lab, Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), and colleagues linked exposure to an audio recording of a mother's heartbeat and her voice to lower incidence of cardio-respiratory events in pre-term infants.
"Our findings show that there may be a window of opportunity to improve the physiological health of these babies born prematurely using non-pharmalogical treatments, such as auditory stimulation," said Lahav, principal study investigator, The Journal of Maternal-Foetal and Neonatal Medicine reported. Because they are underdeveloped, preterm infants experience high rates of adverse lung and heart events, including apnea (pause in breathing longer than 20 seconds) and bradycardia (periods of significantly slow heart rate), according to a hospital statement.
Researchers sought to determine whether an auditory intervention could affect the rates of these unwarranted cardio-respiratory events. "Our findings are promising in showing that exposure to MSS (maternal sound stimulation) could help preterm infants in the short-term by reducing cardiorespiratory events," said Lahav.
"The results also suggest that there is a period of time when the infant's auditory development is most intact that this intervention of MSS could be most impactful," Lahav said.
"However, given our small sample size, further research is needed to determine if this intervention could have an impact on the care and health of preterm infants," added Lahav. — IANS