Music could promote brain development in preterm babies

Axial, sagittal and coronal views (from left to right) of the final study-specific baby brain DTI template (principal diffusion direction mapped into an RGB image: red – left to right; green – anterior to posterior; blue – inferior to superior). Acoustic radiations are shown in white; uncinate fasciculus in yellow; amygdala in orange. (Courtesy: Joana Rita Alves Sa De Almeida, Child Development Laboratory)

An international research team has shown, for the first time, that music therapy applied to preterm infants can influence the structural maturation of their auditory and emotional brain areas. This finding raises the possibility of creating specialized brain-oriented care for improving preterm infants’ outcome.

Premature birth happens when a baby is born before 37 weeks gestational age, instead of the typical 40 weeks. It accounts for 11% of the world’s live births and it is one of the leading causes of neonatal mortality. Very preterm (VPT) birth, which refers to babies born before 32 weeks of gestation, can potentially affect the child’s development. In fact, up to 40% of VPT infants experience neurodevelopmental impairments in childhood and 25% of them exhibit behavioural impairments, such as inattention, anxiety and socio-emotional problems. Full story.
Irina Grigorescu (Physics World) / January 14, 2020

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