1140-23 Savannah Road
Lewes, DE 19958
6 June 2013
Jeffrey M. Drazen, M.D.
New England Journal of Medicine
10 Shattuck Street
Boston, MA 02115
Dear Dr. Drazen,
The article “In Support of Support—A View from the NIH by authors Hudson, Guttmacher and Collins rightfully emphasize the alarming incidence of prematurity, as a leading cause of infant mortality and the attempts to saving these lives through oxygenation technologies that promote neuromaturation.
Each year in the United States, nearly 500,000 infants — 1 in every 8 — are born prematurely, before 37 weeks of gestation. Despite substantial advances in their care, premature infants face a daunting array of challenges; they are at high risk for death in infancy and face severe and lifelong health problems if they survive.1 The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a legal and moral responsibility to do research in partnership with scientists and families to optimize the care of these highly vulnerable infants.
I would like to bring to your attention the research efforts by the NICHD in the early 1960s and 1970s that led to the Time-Life documentary Rock-a-bye Baby that was premiered at the 1970 White House Conference on Children, enclosed.
This award-winning documentary contains a segment that describes Dr. Neal’s studies on the effects of movement on the accelerated neuromaturation and health of premature infants in the ICU.
Movement is the primary sensory environment for fetal development when prematures are denied this essential form of sensory stimulation in the fetal environment. Sensory deprivation has devastating consequences for normal brain-behavioral development that is described in the enclosed DVD: The Origins of Love &Violence: Sensory Deprivation and the Developing Brain.
It is requested that you review this one-half hour documentary, particularly, the segment on Dr. Neal's research and consider the health benefits of rocking bassinets for prematures that would accelerate neuromaturation and health. This vestibular-cerebellar stimulation would undoubtedly affect oxygenation saturation level requirements, as well as other criteria of healthy development.
Grandmothers in a rocking chair should also be used to promote infant care. Mother’s milk should also be used wherever possible to promote healthy infant development.
The Zeitgeist did not exist when I recommended that rocking bassinets be installed in all ICUs in the country and it is recommended that you consider this opportunity. Perhaps a new Zeitgeist exsts today.
You would be interested in the relationship between breastfeeding duration, infant mortality and suicide, which are summarized in my BLOG
Attached is a short bio of myself.
Your attention to this material is appreciated.
James W. Prescott, Ph.D.
Cc: Dr. Collins and Guttmacher
P.S. See Prematurity, Infant Mortality and In utero Sensory Deprivation For Aberrant Brain Development and Infant Survival
for an extended development of this thesis and the video clip that documents “rocking bassinets” in ICUs that provide the MOVEMENT stimulation that was deprived in the premature infants; and aberrant cerebellar functioning in the violent mother deprived primate.
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