A new study, conducted by researchers from Switzerland, suggests that music can help strengthen the brains of premature babies.
For the study, a team of researchers included 29 full-term babies and 39 prematurely born babies 20 of which received eight minutes of soothing background music 5 times per week. The music included sounds of bells, harp, and the Indian snake charmer’s flute.
With the help of the functional MRI, the researchers investigated the influence of the music to the brains of the premature newborns. The analysis of the received data showed that the neural network of newborns who heard music had greater functional connectivity and their brain network were more similar to the brain networks of full-term babies.
A recent review says that the calming sound of mom’s singing can help premature babies to breathe easier.
In this review, the scientists analyzed more than a dozen clinical trials and found that music therapy helped stabilize premature babies’ breathing rate while they stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit.
The researcher Lucja Bileninik explained: “Full-term infants can recognize the mother’s voice at birth. This connection is important to foster in premature infants, whose last months of gestation are instead spent outside the womb.”
According to another scientist who wasn’t involved in the review, Joanne Loewy, “good music therapy” involves similar elements to the mother’s heart beating: a simple, predictable rhythm, periodic lulls, and the familiar sound of mom’s voice.