Neonatal Music Therapy and Cerebral Oxygenation in Extremely and Very Preterm Infants: a Pilot Study
Music therapy is a novel intervention that may minimize neonatal stress. The mechanism of action is still largely unknown. We hypothesized that one mechanism of action regards altered brain oxygenation (either due to altered cerebral perfusion or altered cerebral oxygen consumption). We measured cerebral oxygenation before, during and after music therapy sessions using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS). We extracted data on cerebral oxygen saturation (rcSO2) and calculated cerebral fractional tissue oxygen extraction (cFTOE). In addition, we measured heart rate. We included 20 infants, receiving 44 music therapy sessions. Median gestational age was 27 weeks, the majority were males. We identified two distinct reactions: in one group rcSO2 increased and cFTOE decreased during therapy compared with before therapy, whereas in the other group rcSO2 decreased and cFTOE increased during therapy compared with before therapy. The first may indicate a sedative effect, whereas the second may reflect a hyperalert state. The observed changes in heart rate may contribute to these observations through altered cerebral perfusion. The clinical significance of these two distinct reactions for music processing and (future) neurological functioning in these infants warrants further investigation.
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