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The effect of positioning on acoustic characteristics of infant pain cries
Alexander M. Goberman, Susan Johnson, Michael S. Cannizzaro, Michael Robb

A definitive cause for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has not yet been identified, but some theories point to laryngeal or respiratory causes, in addition to theories of reduced arousal or reduced autonomic response. The occurrence of SIDS has dropped since the movement to place newborns to sleep in the supine position; however some research has found a respiratory disadvantage for infants in this position. The current paper studied acoustic characteristics of infant pain cries to determine differences related to prone versus supine positioning. Sixty-two infant cries were recorded during and following a blood draw screening procedure, with infants were placed either in the supine or prone position. Results were based on long-time average spectrum analysis across each crying episode. Mean Spectral Energy was found to be higher for infants in the supine position, possibly reflecting increased severity of pain response in these infants. In addition, Spectral Tilt (ratio of energy 0-1kHz to 1-5kHz) was lower in the supine position, indicating possible vocal fold hyperadduction in this position. Overall, the acoustic measures that showed significant differences both point to the possibility that there is a difference in pain response or arousal for healthy infants based on position.

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