Infants' Cries May Predict Later Language
FRIDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- The level of complexity of
infants' cries may help to predict which babies are at risk for
language delays, new research suggests.
German researchers compared the cries of three groups of
2-month-old babies: 11 with a cleft lip and palate, 10 with cleft
palate only and a control group of 50 unaffected infants.
In infants, a "simple cry melody" consists of a single rising
and then falling arc, according to researchers. As children age,
their cries become more complex. The ability to intentionally
segment melodies by brief pauses, for example, eventually leads to
By 2 months of age, healthy infants cries display complex
melodies more than 50 percent of the time.
Those whose cries show less complexity are at a higher risk for
poorer language development two years later.
Babies whose cries were complex less than 45 percent of the time
were almost five times more likely to develop a language delay at
For infants above the 45 percent threshold, development of a
language delay could be ruled out with an 89 percent
Researchers found there was a significant difference in the
cries of infants with cleft lip or palate compared to babies
without the birth defect.
Although a number of linguistic delays have been identified
among children with orofacial clefts, researchers concluded the
study's results could provide a better understanding of the
earliest vocal development and offer new ways to help further
improve language outcome in infants with clefts.
The study is published in the May issue of the
The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on
language development in babies.
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