Auditory evoked magnetic fields to speech stimuli in newborns--effect of sleep stages

Neurol Clin Neurophysiol. 2004 Nov 30;2004:6.


The aim of the study was to examine whether a newborn can detect changes in a speech stimulus consisting of a fricative followed by a vowel /su/. In addition, we studied possible effect of the two sleep stages (active and quiet sleep) on the evoked magnetic responses. In young children (6 years), the same stimulus evokes a prominent deflection, consisting of two peaks. The first one (P1m) is evoked by the beginning of the fricative consonant and has a latency of about 145 ms. The second peak (P2m) with a latency of 340 ms, is evoked by the switch to the vowel. In newborns (n = 10), the waveform resembled that of the older children but latencies of the corresponding peaks were longer, 190 and 435 ms, correspondingly. The results suggest that already the newborn brain detects the change inside the auditory speech stimulus, namely the fricative sound changing into a vowel. However, the immaturity of the brain is reflected in the prolonged latencies. In addition, the responses were higher in amplitude in quiet sleep than in active sleep (F (1.9) = 36.5; p < 0.0002). This is in line with the enhanced somatosensory magnetic fields to tactile stimulation in quiet compared to active sleep in newborns.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetoencephalography / methods*
  • Male
  • Sleep Stages / physiology*
  • Speech / physiology
  • Speech Acoustics*
  • Speech Perception / physiology*