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Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
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Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
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Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
Tanning Beds Shown To Raise Cancer Risk, Study Says
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
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Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
Caring for Aging Loved Ones Can Be a Catch-22
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
DIET, NUTRITION
Six Healthy-Sounding Foods That Really Aren't
Low-Fat Diet Does Little to Alter Cholesterol Levels
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Air Pollution Exposure May Slow Fetal Growth
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Vest Monitors 'Individual' Air Pollution
EYE CARE, VISION
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
FITNESS
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
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Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby

(HealthDay News) -- Could the music of the 18th century classical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart help tiny infants born today?

Yes, suggests an Israeli study that found that listening for just 30 minutes a day helped premature babies use less energy, which may help them grow faster.

"Within 10 minutes of listening to Mozart music, healthy infants [born prematurely] had a 10 percent to 13 percent reduction of their resting energy expenditure," the study authors wrote. "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."

The findings were published online Monday in Pediatrics, and are slated to appear in the January print issue of the journal.

In the 1990s, researchers released a small study that found that when adults listened to a Mozart sonata they performed better on intelligence tests. Numerous studies have been done since, including studies on premature infants that have found the "Mozart effect" can decrease the heart rate, lower stress hormone levels and ease distressed behavior in premature infants, according to background information in the new study. Babies exposed to music have also shown an increase in their levels of oxygen and weight gain.

However, none of these studies have been able to look at how the music might be causing these changes.

To get an idea of how Mozart's music might help weight gain, the researchers designed a prospective, randomized trial that included 20 healthy babies who were born prematurely. The babies weren't eating on their own, but instead were being tube-fed consistent quantities of food.

The babies were randomly assigned to listen to no music or to Mozart for 30 minutes for two consecutive days.

During the first 10 minutes, the resting energy expenditure was similar in both groups. But during the next 10 minutes, the researchers noted a change in the babies who were exposed to Mozart -- their resting energy expenditure decreased, and the effect continued through the next 10-minute period as well. Overall, there was a 10 percent to 13 percent drop in resting energy expenditure.

"When you're born early, lots of the pathways in the brain are still being laid down and developing, and then babies are put in an environment where there are lots of unfamiliar sounds and other stimuli, which may cause sensory overload. Music may help decrease those noxious influences," said Dr. Cheryl Cipriani, director of the neonatal intensive care unit at Scott & White Memorial Hospital, in Temple, Texas. "It's an area that needs further explanation."

Dr. Beverly Brozanski, clinical director of the neonatal intensive care unit at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, said that "developmental inputs, whether music or touch or something else, are very important to infant brain development."

Both experts said that while this study's results are intriguing, it's only a small pilot study, and that no definitive conclusions can be drawn from it.

Whether the effect seen in this study is exclusive to Mozart or could be replicated with other music is also unknown. The researchers suggest that the effect may be unique to Mozart because his music tends to repeat the melody more than music of other composers.

Brozanski said that she suspects that lullaby-type music that contains a soothing repetition would probably produce similar effects.

Cipriani said she doesn't know if playing different music would change the outcome, but like Brozanski, she suspects the repetition probably is key. "The baby is used to hearing a beat before it's born -- the whoosh of the blood, the heartbeat -- and it may be that certain types of music do a better job of soothing them and reminding them of the womb," she said.

SOURCES: Cheryl Cipriani, M.D., director, neonatal intensive care unit, Scott & White Memorial Hospital, Temple, Texas; Beverly Brozanski, M.D., clinical director, neonatal intensive care unit, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; Dec. 7, 2009, Pediatrics, online Published on: December 08, 2009