Associations between heart rate variability and spontaneous crying in preterm and full-term infants at term-equivalent age

[Speaker] Shinya, Yuta:1,2
[Co-author] Kawai, Masahiko:3, Niwa, Fusako:3, Myowa-yamakoshi, Masako:1
1:Kyoto university, Graduate School of Education (Japan), 2:Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Japan), 3:Kyoto university, Graduate School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics (Japan)

The role of the vagus has been regarded as the most proximate neural input affecting fundamental frequency (F0) of infant crying in the literature. However, it remains unclear whether lower vagal (parasympathetic) function in preterm infants is associated with the increased F0 of their spontaneous cries. The current study investigated high frequency component (HF, 0.25-1.50 Hz) of heart rate variability as an index of vagal function, and its relationship with the F0 of spontaneous cries in healthy preterm and full-term infants at term-equivalent age. We found that lower HF was associated with higher minimum and mean F0 in preterm infants, whereas higher HF was related to higher mean and maximum F0, and a larger F0 range, in full-terms. These results suggest that individual differences involving vagal function may be associated with the F0 of spontaneous cries via modulation of vocal fold tension at an early developmental stage.
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