LONG ISLAND, NY – Researchers at the Warm Spring Bay Statistical Laboratory have confirmed what many musical enthusiasts have long suspected – that exposure to smooth jazz during pregnancy has the potential to substantially restrict fetal growth. The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of Applied Musical Biology (JAMB), randomized 50 mothers to carry a portable listening device which played either a standard “Top-40” radio station or a steady stream of classics from jazz artists like Kenny G and Jeff Lorber. The mothers carried these devices throughout the first trimester of pregnancy. At regular time points during the trial, fetal growth was measured by ultrasound. An astounding 68% (p <0.05) of so-called “jazz fetuses” did not meet normal growth milestones, falling progressively further below standard sonographic sizing charts over the course of the study. The trial was terminated early for patient safety; fortunately, follow-up measurements show that these babies are now catching up with normal growth.
Speculation regarding the cause of this effect has exploded in the 48 hours since it was released. Lead researcher, Jaixao Li, MD/PhD says that he believes that these first trimester fetuses exposed to constant jazz had “lost the will to live.”
Smooth jazz aficionados have argued that the study was deeply flawed. They cite the small sample size (50 patients), early study termination, and occasional use of artists whom they argued were not truly representative of the genre. Additionally, the drop-out rate in the “smooth jazz arm” of the trial was high. Nine of the 25 mothers who were randomized to smooth jazz could not complete the study for reasons which were not stated.
Despite the controversy surrounding the study methods, the American Institute of Fetal Medicine has issued a statement to pregnant mothers warning them to limit smooth jazz exposure by avoiding elevators in upscale hotels and to restrict time watching the Weather Channel to 15 minutes or less each day.