OBJECTIVE: The rate of weight gain in preterm infants who are exposed to music seems to improve. A potential mechanism could be increased metabolic efficiency; therefore, we conducted this study to test the hypothesis that music by Mozart reduces resting energy expenditure (REE) in growing healthy preterm infants.

DESIGN. A prospective, randomized clinical trial with crossover was conducted in 20 healthy, appropriate-weight-for-gestational-age, gavage-fed preterm infants. Infants were randomly assigned to be exposed to a 30-minute period of Mozart music or no music on 2 consecutive days. Metabolic measurements were performed by indirect calorimetry.

RESULTS: REE was similar during the first 10-minute period of both randomization groups. During the next 10-minute period, infants who were exposed to music had a significantly lower REE than when not exposed to music (P = .028). This was also true during the third 10-minute period (P = .03). Thus, on average, the effect size of music on REE is a reduction of ∼10% to 13% from baseline, an effect obtained within 10 to 30 minutes.

CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to Mozart music significantly lowers REE in healthy preterm infants. We speculate that this effect of music on REE might explain, in part, the improved weight gain that results from this “Mozart effect.”

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