Listening to Mozart could help premature babies gain weight more quickly and go home from the hospital faster, suggests a study published in the January issue of Pediatrics.
The study, by a team of Israeli researchers, tested the effect of Mozart's music on preemies' resting energy expenditure, the number of calories the babies burned at rest. Twenty healthy preterm babies used 10 to 13 percent less energy while the music played than during a no-music control period. The researchers suggest that this metabolism-slowing effect might help babies gain weight faster, since more of the calories they consume could be stored. The next step in the research will be to directly test whether babies who chill out to Mozart have earlier hospital discharge dates, something this study did not measure.
The scientists are also wondering whether Mozart is better than other composers at helping preemies relax. Mozart's compositions tend to include frequent repeats of the melody lines; the researchers speculate his well-organized music might resonate with the organization of babies' brains.
The complete research article is available here.