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Premature babies who listen to Mozart get stronger faster

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

New research shows that premature babies who listened to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart get stronger faster, compared to those who do not. Scientists of Tel Aviv University compared infants born prematurely, finding that those who listened to Mozart gained weight faster and became stronger compared to babies who did not listen to music.

Exposing the premature babies to one thirty minute session of Mozart decreased the need for calories. The preterm babies expended less energy after hearing the music.

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"It's not exactly clear how the music is affecting them, but it makes them calmer and less likely to be agitated," says Dr. Mendel, a lecturer at Tel Aviv University. After listening to Mozart the researchers measured how much energy the premature infants expended at rest finding that the infants were more restful, expending fewer calories.

Dr. Mandel says it is possible that "The repetitive melodies in Mozart's music may be affecting the organizational centers of the brain's cortex. Unlike Beethoven, Bach or Bartok, Mozart's music is composed with a melody that is highly repetitive. This might be the musical explanation. For the scientific one, more investigation is needed.

It is important for babies born prematurely to gain weight before leaving the hospital. The researchers hope to learn more about how exposing premature infants to music can facilitate treatment. "The point of our research is to quantify these effects so that standards and care-guides can be developed. We still don't know the long-term effects of the music, or if other kinds of music will work just as well."

Other suggestions to help premature infants gain weight, develop and go home include listening to ethnic music, rap music, pop music, and, and other classical music like Bach, Beethoven and Mozart, says Dr. Mandel. Exposing premature infants to music may lead to an entirely new approach for treating babies born too early.