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Music Therapy Helps Premature Babies At Beth Israel NICU

Tianna Jackson, he mother Nicola Gaskin, her father Kamau Jackson, and Dr. Joanne Loewy, the Director of the Louis Armstrong Center at Beth Israel Medical Center, in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

Tianna Jackson, he mother Nicola Gaskin, her father Kamau Jackson, and Dr. Joanne Loewy, the Director of the Louis Armstrong Center at Beth Israel Medical Center, in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - In the neonatal intensive care unit at Beth Israel Medical Center, a music therapist can be heared playing a classic Bob Marley tune for tiny Tianna Jackson and her parents.

“One of the most natural things in the world is to sing to your baby and when you have this birth that’s interrupted by prematurity and hospitalization, it’s a very unnatural process and so what you want to do is normalize it,” pediatric nurse Ann-Marie Dassler told WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.

Dassler and Dr. Aimee Telsey’s study of music therapy for preemies had remarkable results.

“Their respiratory rate is a little lower, which is very good for them. If you’re in a calmer state you’re going to grow better, faster, and go home sooner,” Telsey said.

“What you want to do is you want to help their heart rates come down, because bells and whistles startle babies, just like they startle you and me,” Dassler said.

“You know Bob Marley is reggae prince and to hear that song with such a groove turned into a whole new meter of 3 4 6 8 makes it more peaceful for the baby,” said study co-author Dr. Joanne Loewy.

Tianna’s dad Kamau chose the reggae tune, perhaps to reassure himself as much as his daughter.

“One of the other aspects of the study that I found wonderful was that the parents’ stress was reduced,” Telsey said. “That’s the goal, really, to help them also.”

“Yeah, everything is going to be alright. That’s how I feel. She’s going be okay,” Kamau said.

Remember the March of Dimes’ March for Babies is this Sunday in Manhattan. You can join WCBS 880’s Pat Farnack and CBS2’s John Elliott. Click HERE for more information.