Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Babies' Cries Linked To Their Health; Simple Test Can Show Fitness Of Infants' Nervous Systems

Date:
May 16, 2005
Source:
Lifespan
Summary:
Leading researchers in colic and infant development say that a simple analysis of babies' cries can provide a window into their neurological and medical status.

Providence, RI -- Leading researchers in colic and infant development say that a simple analysis of babies' cries can provide a window into their neurological and medical status.

Related Articles


In a research review in the current issue of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, Linda LaGasse, PhD, and Barry Lester, PhD, with the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center (BHCRC) and Brown Medical School looked at previous studies that analyzed the acoustics of a baby's cry. The authors cite the characteristics of a cry that can indicate problems in a baby's nervous system, as well as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In addition, they cite the importance of how parents react to their squalling offspring.

"The cry signal has enormous potential diagnostic value; for example, very high pitched cries can tell us that something may be wrong with the infant, so the cry signal can be an early warning that leads to further neurological testing," says LaGasse.

Overall, studies have repeatedly shown that infants at medical risk (like premature babies), and infants who have been exposed to lead or drugs, cry at a higher and more variable frequency than normal, but at lower amplitude, and with short utterances. These types of cry signals point toward a capacity problem in the respiratory system as well as an increased tension and instability of neural control of the vocal tract.

"Given the results of earlier studies relating cry characteristics to known neurological compromise, these findings suggest that at-risk infants have undetected neurological damage and that cry analysis may be able to identify these infants when no other symptoms are present," says Lester.

In looking at cry analyses on sudden infant death syndrome, researchers found that high resonance and changes in the cry mode were consistent markers associated with SIDS. Resonance is the characteristic of a sound's richness and depth that help humans distinguish a C note on a piano versus a guitar, and mode changes are noisy, broken-sounding cries that indicate poor neural control of the vocal track.

While someone might be able to point out a noisy cry, there is little evidence that a high resonance is distinguishable from a low resonance by an untrained listener.

"Instead, resonance is identified by a computerized analysis of the cry signal in the studies cited in the paper -- this is why a detailed analysis of the cry signal is an important part of understanding the 'full message' of the cry," says LaGasse.

The authors also note that parents tend to understand the nature of their babies' cries well, and stress the importance of parental reaction to cries.

"Parents can usually tell the difference between pain and non-pain cries which guides the urgency of their care taking, and helps parents deal with infants with colic," says LaGasse.

But parent perception of their infant's cry may be affected by conditions such as depression or age of parent which can lead to action or nonaction which may be out of sync with the infant's needs. The most extreme case is "shaken baby syndrome" where the cry triggers aggression rather than concern in the caretaker.

Lester and LaGasse say that clinicians should be aware of how parents respond (or don't respond) to their baby's crying, especially in light of the high prevalence of depression in young mothers.

"Helping parents to correctly interpret their infants' cries can optimize development particularly in high risk infants who may have atypical signals or high risk parents who may misperceive a normal cry," they write.

###

Founded in 1931 as the nation's first psychiatric hospital for children, Bradley Hospital (www.bradleyhospital.org) remains a premier medical institution devoted exclusively to the research and treatment of childhood psychiatric illnesses. Bradley Hospital, located in Providence, RI, is an affiliate of Brown Medical School and ranks in the top third of private hospitals receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health. Its research arm, the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center (BHCRC), brings together leading researchers in such topics as: autism, colic, childhood sleep patterns, HIV prevention, infant development, obesity, eating disorders, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and juvenile firesetting. Bradley Hospital is a member of the Lifespan health system.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lifespan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Lifespan. "Babies' Cries Linked To Their Health; Simple Test Can Show Fitness Of Infants' Nervous Systems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050516151316.htm>.
Lifespan. (2005, May 16). Babies' Cries Linked To Their Health; Simple Test Can Show Fitness Of Infants' Nervous Systems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050516151316.htm
Lifespan. "Babies' Cries Linked To Their Health; Simple Test Can Show Fitness Of Infants' Nervous Systems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050516151316.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) — A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

RightThisMinute (Jan. 23, 2015) — Not only is Kathy seeing her newborn son for the first time, but this is actually the first time she has ever seen a baby. Kathy and her sister, Yvonne, have been legally blind since childhood, but thanks to an amazing new technology, eSight glasses, which gives those who are legally blind the ability to see, she got the chance to see the birth of her son. It&apos;s an incredible moment and an even better story. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com
One Dose, Then Surgery to Test Tumor Drugs Fast

One Dose, Then Surgery to Test Tumor Drugs Fast

AP (Jan. 23, 2015) — A Phoenix hospital is experimenting with a faster way to test much needed medications for deadly brain tumors. Patients get a single dose of a potential drug, and hours later have their tumor removed to see if the drug had any affect. (Jan. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Bedtime Rituals For a Good Night's Sleep

The Best Bedtime Rituals For a Good Night's Sleep

Buzz60 (Jan. 22, 2015) — What you do before bed can effect how well you sleep. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has bedtime rituals to induce the best night&apos;s sleep. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins