Mozart May Help Preemies Gain Weight

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Does Mozart hold the key to helping preemies grow? Credit: totalAldo, Flickr

Many parents have heard about the "Mozart effect" -- the supposedly positive impact of the prolific composer's music on everything from adult intelligence to baby development. A group of researchers in Israel had a theory about how this effect might work in premature babies, and its new study seems to have found proof.

Babies listening to Mozart expend less energy, which allows their bodies to gain weight more quickly, the researchers say.

In a clinical trial of 20 healthy preterm infants, one group listened to Mozart for 30 minutes on two consecutive days and the other group did not. For the first 10 minutes, there was little change. But, as the babies continued to listen, their resting energy expenditure (REE) dropped significantly -- 10 to 13 percent. By burning less energy, the thinking goes, babies will gain weight more easily.The researchers are encouraged by their findings, but they aren't suggesting parents of preemies rush to download Mozart's entire catalog.

"From our study," they conclude, "it is tempting to speculate that decreased REE leads to increased metabolic efficiency and thus to improved weight gain; however, our study is a pilot study in nature, limited to a very short period of 30 minutes, and reflects only REE, a component of but not all of total energy expenditure."

It isn't clear yet, they say, "whether the effect that we observed is a music effect or a 'Mozart effect.' "

Did you play Mozart or other classical music during your pregnancy or during your baby's first months?

Related: Music Therapy

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.