Researchers from University of North Carolina School of Medicine have made an amazing discovery about a newborn’s cry. According to the lead researcher, Dr. Philip Sanford Zeskind, he and his team of researchers have found a method to find out whether a newborn baby suffers from complications of the nervous system due to prenatal drug. If this new method can be used in mainstream medicine, it definitely will revolutionize pediatric and neonatal medicine.

Understanding Hyphenation
Newborn babies have a very distinctive way of crying. Babies that have been exposed to prenatal drug abuse, namely cocaine, have a high pitched tone in their cry. This cry is known as hyphenation and the researchers believe it indicates the damage suffered by the nervous system due to the abuse.

Researchers found that the pitch in the cry among babies exposed to drugs during their mothers’ pregnancy was similar to rat babies that also had been exposed to prenatal drugs.

Why Is It Revolutionary?
Previously, doctors were unable to find out the damage newborn babies’ nervous systems sustained due to drug exposure during pregnancy. The damage was only discovered later in the babies’ lives. However, this new method of finding the damage is worth delving on.

Since in laboratory settings, rat babies have the same high pitch tone in their cries, research can use translational analyses to find out the effect on drug abuse has on limbic mechanism of the brain. Humans and mammals, including rats, have similar mechanisms and this will make it easy for researchers to find the changes or effects on the limbic-mechanism. Based on the changes, treatment methods can be devised to treat or possibly reverse the damage.

Babies do cry and cry a lot. Who would have thought the pitch in their cries could help researchers decipher the depth of prenatal drug abuse by their moms?