Researchers from the University of Alberta, in Canada reviewed its value in term or preterm neonates.

First, the details.

  • Among 180 studies, 9 were worth including in the review.

And, the results.

  • There was preliminary evidence that music may improve physiological parameters and behavioral states, and reduce pain  during painful medical procedures.
  • Music may also improve oral feeding among premature infants.
  • 1 study reported feeding rates increased significantly with the use of a pacifier-activated lullaby (PAL) system in preterm infants who previously had difficulty making the transition to oral feeding.
  • In a study of circumcision, it appeared that music could help with pain control.
  • Playing recorded lullabies and nursery rhymes lowered pain levels as measured by heart rate and oxygen saturation, and pain scales that measure infants’ behavioral responses.
    • Oxygen saturation is the extent to which hemoglobin in blood cells is saturated with oxygen.

The bottom line?
It all sounds positive, but the studies were small and generally poorly designed. The authors think that future researchers should elevate their game.

6/2/09 21:18 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.