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Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
Date:5/27/2009

Analysis finds benefits, but some question results beyond soothing of infants,,,,

WEDNESDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Playing music seems to reduce pain and encourage feeding in premature infants, University of Alberta researchers report.

Music is being widely used in neonatal units across North America, but how beneficial it is to the infants remains unclear.

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 was also noted to improve oral feeding among the preterm infants who were having difficulty making transition to oral feeding," he said.

These benefits, if confirmed, have the potential to save health-care resources by using less pain medication and enabling an earlier transition to oral feeding and discharge from the hospital, he noted.

The report is published in the May 27 online edition of the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

For the study, Kumar's team analyzed data from nine trials, including six that looked at music played while infants underwent painful procedures such as circumcision or having a heel pricked to obtain blood samples. The others looked at music played for premature infants.

Measurements such as heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation and pain were used to evaluate the benefit of music.

In studies that involved circumcision, music was found to have benefits for the infants' heart rate, oxygen saturation and pain. Several studies that involved a heel prick also reported evidence that music could have a benefit in reducing pain and improve behavior. The music played ranged from classical to lullabies and nursery rhymes.
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