Mozart sonata helps premature babies rest and grow

Researchers at Tel Aviv University find that premature babies exposed to a Mozart sonata become restful and grow. Premature infants in neonatal intensive care units struggle with weight gain from underdeveloped systems. The music of Mozart was found in the new study to help premature infants become more restful, reducing metabolism, and leading to weight gain.

The pre term infants studied were exposed for thirty minutes of Mozart's music in one session. The infants, compared to those who did not hear Mozart, needed fewer calories to gain weight.

According to Dr. Dror Mandel who collaborated with Dr. Ronit Lubetzky of the Tel Aviv Medical Center, "It's not exactly clear how the music is affecting them, but it makes them calmer and less likely to be agitated."

Dr. Mandel and Dr. Lubetzky and colleagues measured the physiological effects of music by Mozart played to pre-term newborns for 30 minutes. Afterwards, measurements were taken of energy expenditure again after the music. They then measured energy expenditure when the infants were resting, finding that after hearing music the premature babies needed less energy, in turn leading to weight gain.

The scientists plan more studies to find out what other types of music can help premature babies grown and go home sooner from the hospital Prolonged hospital stays are common for infants born prematurely, and can lead to increased chances of infection and immune dysfunction later in life.

The researchers will explore types of music that the pre term infants "listen" to in the womb in hopes of establishing new clinical guidelines for neonatal intensive care units. "Medical practitioners are aware that by changing the environment, we can create a whole new treatment paradigm for babies in neonatal care," says Dr. Mandel. "That's our main goal — to improve their quality of life."

Premature infants were found to gain weight from listening to Mozart. It may be possible that other types of music can also help premature babies grow.

Tel Aviv University