ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
CANCER
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
CAREGIVING
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
Tainted China Formula Caused High Rate of Kidney Stones in Kids
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
DIABETES
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
DIET, NUTRITION
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Small Doses of Carbon Monoxide Might Help Stroke Victims
Pregnant Rural Women More at Risk
Think You Are Lead-Free? Check Your Soil
EYE CARE, VISION
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
FITNESS
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Can a Bad Boss Make You Sick?
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Sleep and Do Better
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
SENIORS
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Add your Article

Music May Temper Pain in Preemies

WEDNESDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Playing music seems to reduce pain and encourage feeding in premature infants, University of Alberta researchers report.

Music is being widely used in neonatal units across North America, but how beneficial it is to the infants remains unclear.

Lead researcher Dr. Manoj Kumar, an assistant clinical professor in the neonatal division of the pediatrics department at the university, said the study "found some evidence to suggest that music may have beneficial effects in terms of physiological parameters, behavioral states and pain reduction during painful medical procedures in the neonates."

"Music was also noted to improve oral feeding among the preterm infants who were having difficulty making transition to oral feeding," he said.

These benefits, if confirmed, have the potential to save health-care resources by using less pain medication and enabling an earlier transition to oral feeding and discharge from the hospital, he noted.

The report is published in the May 27 online edition of the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

For the study, Kumar's team analyzed data from nine trials, including six that looked at music played while infants underwent painful procedures such as circumcision or having a heel pricked to obtain blood samples. The others looked at music played for premature infants.

Measurements such as heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation and pain were used to evaluate the benefit of music.

In studies that involved circumcision, music was found to have benefits for the infants' heart rate, oxygen saturation and pain. Several studies that involved a heel prick also reported evidence that music could have a benefit in reducing pain and improve behavior. The music played ranged from classical to lullabies and nursery rhymes.

"Calmer infants, a stable condition in the child's physiologic functions such as heart rate and higher oxygen saturation, and lesser pain during the painful procedures such as circumcision and blood sampling via heal prick" were all reported, Kumar said.

"One study noted that the use of a pacifier-activated lullaby system in the preterm infants helped improve their oral feeding rates," he said. "These infants were previously documented to have difficulty in making the transition to oral feeding."

However, Dr. F. Sessions Cole, director of newborn medicine and head of the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Louis Children's Hospital, thinks the jury is still out on whether music in intensive care units works in reducing infant discomfort.

"This article provides a systematic analysis of available information concerning the possible usefulness of music for pain management among sick newborn infants who are undergoing procedures," Cole said, but he noted that "the authors indicate that the methodological problems with all of the reported studies preclude any conclusions about the efficacy of music therapy in the neonatal intensive care unit."

"I know many of us would like this music-based strategy to work to reduce use of pain medications and to improve outcomes of these fragile, high-risk infants," Cole said. "However, based on this article, evaluation of the use of music for pain relief among sick newborn infants is experimental at best and will require more carefully designed, methodologically rigorous strategies before any kind of conclusion about its usefulness can be made."

Dr. Charles R. Bauer, a professor of pediatrics, obstetrics-gynecology and psychology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, noted that research on the benefit of music for infants is sketchy at best.

"The use of music as a soothing intervention for infants is well known," Bauer said. "We know that a neonatal intensive care unit is an abnormal situation. The interventions that the babies undergo are always painful and always uncomfortable, so any attempt to try to soften that environment is a positive intervention."

As an effort to improve the infant's environment, music is worthwhile, Bauer said. "But from an academic standpoint, it is considered very soft science so it's not being used widely, and this article does not advance the cause," he said.

Bauer thinks that randomized trials are needed to really show whether music therapy in such situations is beneficial or not.