It's not clear what this means in the long run, "but it shows how important it is for mothers to interact with their premature babies when they visit," said study co-author Amir Lahav, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Babies born prematurely often suffer from hearing and language problems, Lahav
explained, and the researchers wanted to know more about how they're affected by the weeks they spend in an incubator instead of in their mother's womb.
"Babies begin to hear at 25 weeks' gestation, and they're exposed to the mother's voice and heartbeat," Lahav
"Our findings do not prove that the brains of these babies are necessarily better, and we cannot conclude that they will end up with no developmental disabilities," Lahav
"We don't know the advantages of having a bigger auditory cortex."
It's also not clear if mothers' voices are crucial inside the womb or if the voices of other people might also make a difference.
said the research suggests that parents of premature babies need to talk to them during visits in the hospital.
"Hold your baby, talk to your baby, sing to your baby," he