SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Roberto Medrano, Dmitriy Stepanov, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Sean Houghton

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Harvard and the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation Fund Revealing Music Therapy For Premature Babies

Encouraging scientific findings are emerging daily on the positive effects of music therapy on premature babies levels of stress, vital signs, feeding, and sleep.

NEW YORK, Feb. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent study by The Institute for Music and Brain Science at Harvard University on the benefits of music on premature babies has received substantial backing from science activist, Jeffrey Epstein and his foundation, The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation. The study was conducted with the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The study looked at how vocal music decreases stress by analyzing autonomic and motor responses in 13 premature infants at the Massachusetts General Hospital Neonatal Special Care Unit. Using a clinical trial model, the effect of blood test punctures on heart and respiratory rates were evaluated. Seven neonates then received auditory stimulation within 115 seconds and six neonates were not stimulated. The punctures caused protracted increases in both heart and respiratory rates in all babies. Neonates stimulated with vocal music after pain onset, showed a greater decrease in heart rate over time (12% over 10 minutes) than un-stimulated infants. Auditory stimulation had no significant effect on respiratory rates.

"There is a clear correlation between music and stress levels," Jeffrey Epstein asserted. "And that is an exciting first step."

One recent and exciting practical example of the positive effects of Music therapy studies is happening increasingly at Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) across the country. Commonly babies cannot leave the NICU until they can nurse on their own, and so in a recent use of musical therapies a musical pacifier helps to reduce stress and to learn how to eat sooner and shorten their hospital stay, researchers said. Premature babies whose therapy in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) included a pacifier that, when used correctly, plays a lullaby recorded by their moms learned to eat sooner and more effectively than other preemies, according to research out of Vanderbilt University.

Using music as a mechanism for medicine is not a new idea but Harvard and the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation have allowed for the first real empirical study to unfold.

In addition to supporting medical research at Harvard, the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation supports scientific research around the world and has given a $30 million gift to Harvard to establish the Program of Evolutionary Dynamics, the first department of its kind to study evolutionary biology from a mathematical point of view.

Founded by Dr. Mark Tramo, the institute for Music and Brain Science aims to combat neurological diseases using music as a lens into the brain and as a rehabilitator. Dr. Tramo is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Attending Neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

SOURCE Jeffrey Epstein Foundation

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