In a small study of 20 pre-term infants, researchers from Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Centre found that listening to the composer for just 30 minutes a day helps premature babies use less energy, which may help them grow faster.
“Within 10 minutes of listening to Mozart’s music, healthy infants (born prematurely) had a 10 to 13 per cent reduction of their resting energy expenditure,” lead author Dr Ronit Lubetzky said. “We speculate that this effect of music on resting energy expenditure might explain, in part, the improved weight gain that results from this Mozart effect.”
Numerous studies have been done on ‘Mozart effect’ and they found that listening to the composer can boost a person’s IQ but now scientists are also finding evidence that music generally may help premature infants by lowering stress hormone levels, leading to weight and growth.
To determine if Mozart’s music might help weight gain, Dr. Lubetzky’s team measured the babies’ resting metabolism as the infants listened to 30 minutes of Mozart on two consecutive days and measured the their metabolism during 30 minutes of silence on another two consecutive days.
The findings showed Mozart lowered the quantity of energy they used, meaning the babies may be able to increase their weight faster.
Dr. Lubetzky said the reasons the babies used less energy listening to Mozart aren’t entirely clear, but it appeared to have relaxed them.
“They might be more calm while listening to music, or they might have fewer stress hormones. All those things mean they have a lower heart and respiratory rate,” she said, meaning they spend less energy.
Prior research studying the effect of music on premature babies had been done using other sounds, including live music and harps.
But this study is unique because it appears to be the first to have quantified the amount of energy spent while listening to the music, one neonatologist said.
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