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Music "helps relieve premature babies' pain"

Research shows playing music in hospitals can help relieve babies' pain and help them to feed.

The findings, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, showed music had a beneficial effect on lessening pain when premature babies were subject to procedures such as heel prick blood tests.

Analysis of nine clinical trials also found that full-term babies that underwent operations, such as circumcision, experienced less pain when they were played music.

Experts at the University of Alberta in Canada also believe that premature babies who struggled with feeding could be played music to help encourage them to eat.

Trials published between 1989 and 2006 show the heart rate, oxygen saturation and pain levels of babies were all helped by music.

The authors said: "In summary, there is preliminary evidence to suggest that music may have beneficial effects in terms of physiological parameters, behavioural states and pain reduction during painful medical procedures.

"However, most trials conducted to date are of poor methodological quality."

The authors have called for more research to be done to confirm the benefits of music before making any specific recommendation for the use of music to help babies develop.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Archives of Disease in Childhood