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A Pioneering Music Project

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We recently read a fascinating article in The National Geographic,January 1, 2019 highlighting what they called a “pioneering music project”. A research team at the University Hospital in Geneva, Switzerland, working with premature babies, adapted special headphones and three specific songs for the babies to hear. The songs are part of ongoing research to understand how music affects a preterm infant’s brain and how well the infant can identify melody, tempo and pitch (skills related to language processing).

Lead by neonatologist Petra Huppi, researcher Manuela Filippa, and composer Andreas Vollenweider, the comparison study involves MRI scans of babies’ brains while listening to the songs in contrast to a control group (no music). According to Huppi, the songs are short and simple and were composed to help infants fall asleep, wake up or interact.

Ongoing research will assess benefits of this music therapy. Early results show improved brain connectivity as well as regulated sleep/wake patterns. We offer our thanks to Catherine Zuckerman for her article in the National Geographic. Fascinating research to keep an eye on.