ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is widely regarded as a musical master. His work, which is as well-known as it is prolific, may also have medically beneficial properties.
One study, conducted out of the Ichilov Hospital at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel, shows that Mozart’s works may help premature babies develop faster than listening to any other renowned composer’s music.
According to Haaretz, the study was led by Prof. Dror Mandel director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Ronit Lubetzky, the deputy director of the Department of Pediatrics.
“Exposing premature babies to music is considered a relatively new issue, and one can’t change procedures as a result of such a small survey as the one we carried out,” Mandel is quoted as saying. “In our neonatal intensive care unit, when preemies [sic] don’t gain enough weight, I recommend to their mothers that they expose them to Mozart in an effort to improve their condition.”
Haaretz learned that researchers involved in the study tested the effects of Mozart’s compositions, as well as those of Johann Sebastian Bach, by playing the music on iPads placed outside of their incubators and through earphones designed to fit their small heads.
The babies were split into three groups, the Israeli news service reported, and were exposed to quiet selections from Baby Mozart albums one day, similarly toned Baby Bach discs the next, and a third day of no music at all.
Researchers observed changes in metabolic rates after just ten minutes of exposure to Mozart. After a half hour of listening to Mozart’s music, rates dropped at an average of 9.7 percent in comparison to babies who had not listened to any music.
Bach’s music allegedly only resulted in a 4.5 percent drop when compared to the group that was denied music.
“Lowering the metabolism rate of premature babies causes them to lose fewer calories and increase their weight faster, which is a positive state,” Mandel explained to Haaretz. “In medical literature, there is an assumption that repeating musical themes, characteristic to most of Mozart’s compositions, is partially responsible for the calming and beneficial effect of the music.”
The 12 babies used for the study were reportedly all born 30 weeks into their mothers’ pregnancies. They were said to weigh in at 1.2 kilograms, or 2.6 pounds, each.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, premature birth could come with lifelong issues for the baby, including cerebral palsy, hearing loss and various intellectual disabilities.