Brains On Music: Premies and Flutes
I was fascinated to read this article from the University of Geneva dated June 1, 2019: “How Flute Music Helps To Build Brains of Premature Babies”
Researchers wanted to test the theory that exposure to music could help premature babies. They hypothesized that babies that are born early often have trouble with too much stimulation and can develop neurological problems that persist.
At the beginning of the study, the researchers determined that the most soothing and interesting music to the babies was made by the Indian snake charmer flute, called a punji or pungi.
The study was conducted in a double-blind study, with a group of premature infants who listened to the music, a control group of premature infants, and a control group of full-term newborns to assess whether the brain development of premature infants who had listened to the music would be more similar to that of full-term babies. Scientists used functional MRI at rest on all three groups of children. Without music, premature babies generally had poorer functional connectivity between brain areas than full-term babies, confirming the negative effect of prematurity.
Here’s the press release from the University of Geneva.
…medical imaging reveals that the neural networks of premature infants who have listened to this music, and in particular a network involved in many sensory and cognitive functions, are developing much better.
Unfortunately, none of the articles provides a link to the soundtrack used with the premature babies. But I can tell you I feel pretty peaceful after listening to this YouTube video for several minutes:
It’s an exciting time to be a musician!
Additionally, several of my friends saw this same research study and forwarded the article to me. Believe it or not, this research study was interesting to people other than neuroscientists and flutists. Perhaps we have a universal understanding of how important music is in our lives, from birth to death.
You can read my other blog articles on the subject by clicking below.