Incubator Electromagnetic Fields Alter Newborns' Heart Rates

  • Medical
  • Thread starter SF
  • Start date
  • #1
SF

Main Question or Discussion Point

ScienceDaily (May 2, 2008) — The electromagnetic fields produced by incubators alter newborns' heart rates, reveals a small study published ahead of print in the Fetal and Neonatal Edition of Archives of Disease in Childhood. It is not clear what the long term effects might be, but this could have implications for babies born prematurely, who may spend several weeks or months in incubators, say the authors.

The heart rates of 27 of these babies were assessed over three periods of five minutes each, during which the incubator motor was left running, then switched off, then left running again. To see if noise might be a factor, because incubators are noisy, 16 newborns were exposed to "background noise," by placing a tape beside the baby's head, while the incubator motor was switched off.

The tape recording, which reproduced the sound of the incubator fan, was played for five minutes, paused for five minutes, and then played again for five minutes.

There were no differences in heart rate variability in the tape recorded babies. But there were significant differences in the heart rate variability of babies in the incubators. The heart rate variability fell significantly during the periods when the incubator was switched on.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080430201654.htm
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
11,490
51
I'll have to see if I can get ahold of the full study, not just the digested version. In the meantime, two related questions come to mind that I'd like to read the original article to see if they are answered.

First, is variability the only thing changed, or does heart rate increase or decrease? And second, is there any indication at all that there is an effect on the long-term ability to regulate heart rate, or is it only that the infants react to the motor?

Both of my questions stem from trying to sort out a difference between heart rate variability as an indicator of the intrinsic ability of the heart to react to various stimuli, and a change in that variability because a stimulus is present driving heart rate in one direction or another.
 
  • #3
SF
On the sould issue: does the tape reproduce ultrasound and low-frequency sounds?
Both of this are undetected on a conscious level by the human observer, yet they still have effects.
 
  • #4
Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
11,490
51
On the sould issue: does the tape reproduce ultrasound and low-frequency sounds?
Both of this are undetected on a conscious level by the human observer, yet they still have effects.
That's a good question. It could actually be an issue on either end of the spectrum if either the recorder or the speakers being used don't reproduce the full spectrum of sounds the infant may hear (I still haven't tracked down the original article...I keep forgetting to do so when I have time to do it).
 

Related Threads for: Incubator Electromagnetic Fields Alter Newborns' Heart Rates

  • Last Post
Replies
14
Views
8K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
10K
  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
8K
  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
3K
Replies
1
Views
980
Replies
6
Views
23K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
2K
Top