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Music may ease pain for premature babies

May 28, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Music could be a key tool in caring for premature babies.Researchers at the University of Alberta say music seems to reduce pain and encourage feeding in preemies.

They reached that conclusion after analyzing several different studies on the topic.

The music played ranged from classical, to lullabies and nursery rhymes.

If it is true, music could allow doctors to use less pain medication in premature babies, and speed up the transition to feeding on their own.

Lead researcher Dr. Manoj Kumar, an assistant clinical professor in the neonatal division of the pediatrics department at the university, said the study "found some evidence to suggest that music may have beneficial effects in terms of physiological parameters, behavioral states and pain reduction during painful medical procedures in the neonates."

Music is being widely used in neonatal units across North America, but how beneficial it is to the infants remains unclear. Measurements such as heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation and pain were used to evaluate the benefit of music. But many doctors caution that the research so far is experimental at best.

The university's report was published in the May 27 online edition of the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

HealthDay News contributed to this report.

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