Scientists Developing A Baby Cry Analyzer For Potential Health Or Developmental Problems

Scientists Developing A Baby Cry Analyzer For Potential Health Or Developmental Problems

This is still mystery about how moms are somehow able to tell the difference between a baby’s “I’m hungry” cry and “I have a poopy diaper” cry. Most of the people believe that a baby is directly attached with his mother's heart that's why the mother recognize the difference between the cries but according to scientists at Brown University, subtle variations of a cry, that can be imperceptible to the human ear, can really hold important information about a baby’s health.

Neurological or developmental defects can change the way infants control their vocal cords, thus affecting how a cry sounds (Cri du chat is one easily detectable example with symptoms similar to Down syndrome).

Researchers at Brown University teamed up with faculty at Women & Infants Hospital, to create a computer tool that may find use detecting neurological or developmental problems in infants, by analyzing their cries.

 The way infants Change Their Cries Indicate Neurological or developmental defects

“There are lots of conditions that might manifest in differences in cry acoustics,” said Stephen Sheinkopf, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown, who helped develop the new tool. “For instance, babies with birth trauma or brain injury as a result of complications in pregnancy or birth or babies who are extremely premature can have ongoing medical effects. Cry analysis can be a noninvasive way to get a measurement of these disruptions in the neurobiological and neurobehavioral systems in very young babies.”

Baby Cry Analyzer Working:

The system operates in two phases. During the first phase, the analyzer separates recorded cries into 12.5-millisecond frames. Each frame is analyzed for several parameters, including frequency characteristics, voicing, and acoustic volume. The second phase uses data from the first to give a broader view of the cry and reduces the number of parameters to those that are most useful. The frames are put back together and characterized either as an utterance — a single “wah” — or silence, the pause between utterances. Longer utterances are separated from shorter ones and the time between utterances is recorded. Pitch, including the contour of pitch over time, and other variables can then be averaged across each utterance.

According to Brown scientists, the 80 parameters that are measured can each tell something about a baby’s health and could be useful in diagnosing medical problems stemming from malnutrition, prenatal drug exposure, and other risks.

RELATED VIDEO: Baby Cry Analyzer

The analysis of baby cries is a field that has been researched for decades. It is hoped that by using this new technology, clinicians will be able to detect extremely subtle variances that would previously have gone unnoticed.

Using A Baby Cry Analyzer clinicians will be able to detect extremely subtle variations

“Early detection of developmental disorders is critical,” Lester added, director of Brown’s Center for the Study of Children at Risk. “It can lead to insights into the causes of these disorders and interventions to prevent or reduce the severity of impairment.”
The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
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Write by: RC - Saturday, July 13, 2013

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