Friday, February 3, 2017

What Do Crocheted Octopuses and Preemies Have in Common?

As much as people like to trash Facebook, I have to say it is a great way to learn about ideas and issues around the world - unique things that you may never have heard about otherwise. Take this story for instance.

Researchers from Denmark discovered that premature babies in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) respond positively when they have a crocheted octopus at their side. The crocheted tentacles of the octopuses* remind the tiny babies of their umbilical cord. While babies are in utero, they often
grab hold of their cord as they float around in their cocoon-like home, but once they're born, there's nothing for them to grab on to, other than their life-saving tubes that may be pulled out or dislocated. But babies who were each given a crocheted octopus seemed less stressed. Nurses have observed the babies' heart and respiration breathing rates drop when they are able to hold on to the tentacles. Another important benefit: if the babies are holding and pulling on the tentacles, they are less likely to pull on those tubes.

A hospital in the UK decided to give their premature babies their own octopus to see if it would make a difference, according to an online article in Prima. The nurses in the hospital did find that the octopuses helped their little charges.

First kangaroo care (holding baby to the skin), now octopuses, what next will we find will help those fragile babies?

*This is the correct plural form of octopus :-) 

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