FETAL SONIC STIMULATION, The Royal College of General Practitioners Official Reference Book, Sterling Publications Limited, London, 1995
Brent Logan, Ph.D.
Based upon several important discoveries in human development, over the past decade a new science has emerged--an event with profound implications for the individual and society. As increasingly large numbers of the public have begun applying this discipline, professionals are challenged with responding from a knowledgeable perspective.
Only in quite recent years has accurate information about the fetus become available, primarily due to ultrasound, in utero monitors, and fiber optic television permitting a clear picture of life inside the womb, at which time academic journals began to document the considerable benefits of maternal-fetal interaction (Van de Carr and Lehrer, 1986), enrichment effects observed in animal trials (Diamond, 1988). But as researchers provided better data, mothers throughout the world spontaneously coupled their revised understanding with a technological innovation--the portable audiocassette player; it should be emphasized that this was no orchestrated event, rather a generic manifestation of perceived need.
During the 1980s, infants before birth began experiencing music played directly to them through headphones stretched across the material abdomen. While this phenomenon was in itself unusual, reports of significant gains in postnatal performance moved beyond anecdotes to describe consistency in cognitive, social, creative, and even physiological areas, although these children were being born to families which included substantial percentages of middle and lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
Commencing with fetal responsiveness syncopated to the sonic stimulation (periodic limb movements averaging many minutes, therefore neither habituated nor reflexive), shorter labors and lower Cesarean deliveries accompanied nontraumatized births, with newborns characterized by relaxed bodies, open eyes, unclenched hands, and little or no crying. General health and physical strength were excellent if not exceptional. Remarkable affability, concentration, and language acquisition distinguished all stimulated children, who began walking several months before the norm. Superior academic achievement and prodigious IQs in the 150 range were balanced with strong interpersonal skills.
Explanation for this phenomenon was first suggested by the author in 1982 as prelearning theory (Logan, 1987, 1988), whereby normative apoptosis or cell death in the fetal brain--which toward the end of gestation extensively atrophies its original neuronal production (Chun et al., 1987)--could be decreased through environmental enrichment in the form of sonic stimulation, such that enhanced neurology (the opposite of retardation) would result. The most effective methodology for this developmental improvement was proposed as electronically synthesized replications of the maternal in utero blood pulse increasing in tempo in order to advance fetal information-processing ability (signified by protoalpha rhythm when measured electroencephalographically) through progressive imprinting stimuli (Salk, 1962).
After determining by hydrophone that most sounds in the mother's immediate environment reach her unborn child, though attenuated by 30-35 decibels, and that the constant acoustic volume inside the womb (from maternal blood pumping past) ranges to 11'5 decibels, in 1986 the author began administering several hours of appropriate sonic stimulation daily in a pilot study of twelve infants (including twins), with the outcomes confirmed then-and in later controlled trials with greater numbers of children-as exceeding those where stimuli had not been standardized (Logan, 1989, 1991, 1992).
In 1989, commercialization of this approach started, with more than 25,000 prenatally advantaged children born to date on every continent, the oldest group now eight years old. The latest generation product, developed by Prenatal !Institute and tradenamed BabyPlus, is a small microchip unit situated on the maternal abdomen by a clothing clip or nylon belt; no other fetal stimulation technology is being marketed. Clinical trials by independent researchers continue to verify the originally observed benefits, and no negative factors of any kind have been noted. Recent findings indicate thicker placental walls--an important health factor for the infant-due to the vibroacoustic nature of the stimulation and interaction with fetal movement, as well as positive chemical and hormonal influences generated by the mother's bonding psychodynamic while engaging the practice. A pilot study showing significantly more mature infant EEG where prenatal sonic stimulation was involved is the basis for extensive trials utilizing tomographic means (Logan, 1993).
Both immediate and longitudinal benefits of this innovation appear consistent with evolutionary theory, greater environmental demands evoking an ontogenetic performance enhancement potentially phylogenetic. Research institutions are invited to conduct product evaluations with any relevant measurements; practitioners are encouraged to investigate sonic enrichment before birth as part of standard prenatal care. Either may contact Brent Logan, Ph.D., Director, Prenatal Institute, 1004 Daley Street, Edmonds, Washington 98020 USA (phone/fax 206-6703565), for published article copies or samples of current technology.
Chun J J, Nakamura M J and Shatz C J (1987) Transient cells of the mammalian telencephalon are peptide-immunoreactive neurons. Nature 325, 617-20.
Diamond M C (1988) Enriching Heredity. New York, The FreePress/Macmillan.
Logan B (1987) Teaching the unborn: precept and practice. Pre and Prenatal Psychology Journal 2, 14-17.
Logan B (1988) The ultimate preventive: prenatal stimulation. In Prenatal and Prenatal Psychology and Medicine. Eds. Fedor-Freybergh P G and Vogel M L V. Camforth, Parthenon Publishing.
Logan B (1989) Project Prelearn: the efficacy of in utero teaching. International Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Studies, 1,365-80.
Logan B (1991) Infant outcomes of a prenatal stimulation pilot study. Pre and Perinatal Psychology Journal 6, 7-31.
Logan B (1992) Prelearning: trials and trends. International Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Studies, 4, 67-9.
Logan B (1993) Biological measurements of prenatal stimulation. In Prenatal Perception, Learning and Bonding, Ed. Blum T. Berlin, Leonardo Publishers.
Salk L (1962) Mother's heartbeat as an imprinting stimulus. Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences 24, 753-63.
Van de Carr F R and Lehrer M (1986) Enhancing early speech, parental bonding and infant physical development using prenatal intervention in standard obstetric practice. Pre and Perinatal Psychology Journal 1, 20-30.
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