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Music Medicine

Title:  “The Effect of Music Exposure on Behavioral State Changes in Narcotic Withdrawing Infants”

Eliasar A. Simon, Elmer S. David, Kristin Thistleton, Walter Zahorodny,

Gaylene T. Maichuk, Jennifer L. Vidal.  

Pediatrics, UMDNJ/New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ.

BACKGROUND:    Antenatally narcotic-exposed newborns (ANENs) experience a stressful and protracted withdrawal syndrome even when undergoing aggressive pharmacotherapy.  Music exposure has been found effective in lowering arousal states and distress behaviors of newborns in the nursery.

OBJECTIVE:   This study considered the efficacy of music exposure as a complementary intervention for antenatal narcotic withdrawal.

DESIGN/METHODS:  Twenty (20), full term, otherwise healthy, ANENs undergoing pharmacotherapy with tincture of opium were randomized to a music-exposure group (n=10 or a no-music (control) group (n=10).  ANENs in the music group heard classical piano music, rendered at a tempo of 60 to 80 beats per minute, for five consecutive days.  Behavioral state changes, as defined by Prechtl norms, were recorded from all subjects during two, 60-minute periods, at 1200 and 1600 hours, each study day.  The percentages of time subjects were asleep (States 1 and 2), awake (States 3 and 4), and crying (State 5) were compared between music exposure and control groups.

RESULTS:  Antenatally narcotic-exposed newborns receiving complementary music exposure spent more time asleep (State 1 and 2) than controls (75% vs. 59%, p=value=0.02).  Music-exposed subjects also spent less time crying than controls (6.8% vs. 23%, p=value=0.02).  There was no difference between groups with regard to amount of time awake. (18.2% vs. 17.9%, p-value=1.00).

CONCLUSIONS:  The intense distress of antenatally-exposed newborns was reduced by complementary music exposure.

Publication/Citation:  Simon E, David E, Thistleton K, Zahorodny W, Maichuk G, Vidal J, The Effect of Music Exposure on Behavioral State Changes in Narcotic Withdrawing Infants, Pediatric Research, Vol. 49, No. 4, pg. 25A, 137, April 2001.

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