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Researchers Create a Song That Makes Babies Happy

Silly sounds or smooth jazz? 

Plenty of research has looked at adults’ emotional responses to music. But research with babies is more piecemeal and eclectic, perhaps reflecting the difficulty of asking them what they like. Researchers know that babies can hear and remember music even while they are still in the womb. And one curious study found that newborn babies prefer Bach to Aerosmith.

Most systematic work has found young babies have clear preferences for consonance over dissonance and can remember the tempo and timbre of music they’ve heard before. Babies prefer the female voice but like it even more when it takes on the qualities of “motherese” (the high-energy singsong tone we all naturally adopt when talking to babies). But their emotional responses to music is a bit more of a mystery. What kind of music makes them calm and content? And what makes them happy?

I am an expert on baby laughter and was intrigued when the C&G baby club approached me and music psychologist Lauren Stewart to create “a song scientifically proven to make babies happy” that they could give away to parents. We thought this was an interesting challenge. However, our first proviso was that they shouldn’t use the word “prove”. Our second was that they had let us do real science. They readily agreed.

The first step was to discover what was already known about the sounds and music that might make babies happy. We had some experience. My previous work on the Baby Laughter project had asked parents about the nursery rhymes and silly sounds that appealed to babies. Lauren’s previous research has looked at “earworms”, songs that get stuck in your head. But we discovered surprisingly little research on babies’ musical preferences. This was encouraging as it meant this was a worthwhile project from a scientific point of view.

The next step was to find the right composer: Grammy-award winner Imogen Heap. Imogen is a highly tech-savvy musician who just happened to have an 18-month-old daughter of her own. She was also intrigued by the challenges of the project. Few musicians had taken on the task of writing real music to excite babies while still appealing to parents. Musician Michael Janisch recorded a whole album of Jazz for Babies, but that was very slow and designed to soothe babies. Most music written specifically for babies sounds frankly deranged.

We met with Heap and gave her a set of recommendations based on what we had discovered from the past research. The song ought to be in an major key with a simple and repetitive main melody with musical devices like drum rolls, key changes and rising pitch glides to provide opportunities for anticipation and surprise. Because babies’ heart rates are much faster than ours so the music ought to be more uptempo than we would expect. And finally, it should have an energetic female vocal, ideally recorded in the presence of an actual baby.

Setting up the experiment

Fortunately Heap had her daughter, Scout, to help her with the composition. Heap created four melodies for us to test in the lab, two fast and two slow ones. For each of these she created a version with and without simple sung lyrics. Some 26 babies between six and 12 months then came to our lab with their mums and a few dads to give us their opinion. Amazingly most of the parents and 20 out of 26 babies seemed to share a clear preference for one particular melody. In line with our predictions this was a faster melody. Even more amazingly, this was the tune that had started out as a little ditty made up by Scout.

We knew which song the mums liked because we could ask them. We also asked the parents to tell us what their babies preferred best, because they are the experts on their own babies. But we also filmed the babies’ responses and coded the videos for laughs, smiles and dancing.

Now that we had a winning melody, Heap needed to turn it into a full-length song and it needed to be funny (to a baby). The secret was to make it silly and make it social. Around 2,500 parents from the C&G baby club and Heapäs fan club voted on silly sounds that made their babies happy. The top ten sounds included “boo!” (66%), raspberries (57%), sneezing (51%), animal sounds (23%) and baby laughter (28%). We also know babies respond better to “plosive” vocal sounds like “pa” and “ba” compared to “sonorant” sounds like “la”. Heap very cleverly worked many of these elements into the song.

Next it needed to be something that parents could enjoy themselves and share with their children. Happiness is a shared emotion and the success of nursery rhymes is that they are interactive. Heap carefully crafted the lyrics to tell a joyous tale of how we love our little babies wherever we are – from the sky to the ocean, on a bike or on a rocket. The transport theme permitted lots of plosives “beep, beep” and bouncing actions.

Our baby music consultants came back to the lab and listened to two slightly different sketches of the full song. This time we found that slightly slower seemed to work better (163 vs 168 beats per minute). Perhaps because it gave parents and babies a little more time to respond to the lyrics. We also found that the chorus was the most effective part of the song and determined which lyrics and sound effects worked better or worse.

After one final round of tweaks from Heap, we went for a different kind of test. We assembled about 20 of the babies in one room and played them the song all together. If you ever met an excited toddler or young baby, you will know that two and a half minutes is a long time to hold the attention of even one child, let alone two dozen. When The Happy Song played we were met by a sea of entranced little faces. This final bit wasn’t the most scientific as tests go but it definitely convinced me that we had a hit on our hands.

Now that we have a song that is both new and highly baby friendly, Lauren and I have a range of follow-up studies planned. We are planning to use the song in a range of experiments looking at how parents introduce their babies to music and hope to look more in depth at babies’ physiological responses to happy music.


Adapted from:


What, Why and How -Candida and Fungal Infections-

Research from Rice University shows that 70% of all people are affected by candida, a systemic fungal infection. According to the molecular biologists at Rice University, candida is common in humans and is often found in colonies in their intestines, mouths or on their skin.

A Harvard University fellow in infectious disease, Julia Koehler, found that candida is the predominant fungal infection behind human disease. According to Koehler, candida was responsible for 60% of the fungal infections acquired in hospitals, killing 1 in 3 people with a bloodstream infection.

What Is Candida?

A fungus is a microscopic organism that typically lives harmlessly in people. However, if your inner ecosystem is out of balance and your immunity is weakened, you are at risk for a fungal infection, like candida (also known as a yeast infection).

A single-cell organism, candida reproduces asexually and thrives on some of the body’s by-products: dead tissue and sugars from food. Unless its environment is altered and its source of food is eliminated, it quickly monopolizes entire body systems, such as the digestive tract, and causes moderate to severe symptoms.

In patients with weakened immune systems, like those with AIDS or cancer, candida in the bloodstream can (and often does) become the actual cause of death.

Symptoms of Candida

When someone has candida they often appear to look very healthy on the outside. Therefore, most people (and even their health care professionals) are totally unaware that a serious infection lies deep within. The symptoms of candida often mimic other illnesses, so it can be difficult to diagnose without testing. In fact, here at Body Ecology we often hear people tell us: “I’m the healthiest-looking sick person I know.” In other words, people actually feel much worse than they look.

Below I’ve listed some of the most common symptoms of candida. Please note these symptoms are also in many other disorders as well – making diagnosing this problem even more difficult.

  • Fatigue and chronic fatigue
  • Muscle aches, weakness or paralysis
  • Insomnia
  • Pain and/or swelling in joints
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Bloating, belching, intestinal gas and/or abdominal pain
  • Poor memory, foggy thinking or feeling “spacey”
  • Troublesome vaginal itching, burning or discharge
  • Prostatitis
  • Loss of sexual desire or feeling
  • Endometriosis or infertility
  • Impotence
  • Bad breath
  • Frequent mood swings

Use this candida questionnaire. Your results can be discussed with your doctor but be mindful: most physicians are not aware of systemic fungal infections. The ones who are believe an anti-fungal drug will solve the problem. Bring this article along with you as you consider treatment options!

Why Fungal Infections are Becoming More Common

Why are so many people affected by fungal infections like candida?

Some of the more common causes are listed below. Please note that all of these are related to 1) weakened immunity, 2) weakened adrenals and 3) low levels of minerals needed to maintain a slightly alkaline blood environment:

  • We are living longer – As we age, our bodies are more susceptible to pathogens due to weakened immune systems.
  • For people of all ages -prebirth to death – our lives are much more stressful – Stress weakens our immune systems, depletes our minerals and creates an acidic blood environment
  • Widespread use of antibiotics and other drugs – Drugs create an acidic environment in our blood, which weakens our immunity.
  • Success in treating diseases like AIDS/HIV – Created a subgroup of people susceptible to fungal infections due to lowered immunity.
  • Our diets are poor – the Standard American Diet is not only full of sugar and processed foods, it also lacks minerals. This sets the stage for an unhealthy inner ecosystem and lowered immunity.

If you have a strong immune system, you could still unknowingly have a fungal/yeast infection. It most likely is low-grade and chronic. You might notice that your fungal infection seems to at time “flare up” even becoming “acute” any time your immune system is suppressed for any reason: stress, upset, pregnancy or illness.

It’s clear that keeping our immunity strong is imperative and this is one of the main benefits of Body Ecology’s program. Building a strong inner ecosystem is key to this goal (read on for keys to building a healthy inner ecosystem).

Yeast Infections – More Serious Than You Think

A woman who has vaginal yeast infections is led to believe (from popular television commercials) that the problem is only in her birth canal or is an unsightly infection on her toenails. In fact, these are merely “symptoms” of an infection that is actually in her bloodstream. If she should become pregnant her unborn baby is also at risk.

Some women who never have vaginal infections believe they are free of the problem when indeed they will have differing symptoms manifesting in other ways.

At Body Ecology we are seriously concerned that an entire generation of young women of child-bearing age are being kept in the dark about the causes of candida and of it’s potential impact on their children. We know that fungal infections are in all children with autism and also their mothers. We know autism begins in the womb when the fetus is exposed to the fungus. In fact, an entire generation of children are at risk for being on the autism spectrum because the truth is not being told about candida.

Read more about the risks to mother and baby in the following articles:

Fungal infections like candida can affect anyone at any age – prebirth to elderly. Many of us were actually infected at birth. This sets the stage for an entire lifetime of weaken immune systems and poor health. With the widespread overuse of antibiotics and other drugs coupled with a processed, high-carb diet, fungal/yeast infections are currently affecting the well-being of at least four generations living today.

More Medical Training Needed

Even doctors themselves are not trained to understand how serious and prevalent fungal infections are.

In medical school, physicians are taught that fungal infections can take lives if they become acute. They are taught to prescribe the “safest and most effective” drugs for a condition or set of symptoms and for fungal infections they will certainly prescribe ‘the drug of choice” in a billion dollar spectrum of anti-fungal drugs.

Unfortunately, these drugs have side effects and create an acidic condition in your body. To learn more, read: How This All Too Common Habit is Making Your Blood Dangerously Acidic.

Typical anti-fungals prescribed for candida and their side effects are:
Nystatin – side effects: itching, irritation, burning, diarrhea, upset stomach, stomach pain, skin rash.
Diflucan (fluconazole) – side effects: liver damage, an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing, closing of throat, swelling lips, tongue or face, hives), yellowing of skin or eyes, abdominal pain, unusual fatigue, dark urine, rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, itching.
Nizoral (ketoconazole) – side effects: headache, dizziness, abdominal pain, impotence, rash, itching, nausea and/or vomiting and blood count abnormalities. A reaction resulting in serious lowering of the blood pressure and shock (anaphylaxis), depression and hair loss are reported as rare side effects.

After reading about these side effects, how do you feel about taking drugs?

The search for stronger and stronger anti-fungals continues because the fungi have the ability to mutate. Current anti-fungals are becoming ineffective. While modern medicine is beginning to see that fungi/yeast are truly serious opponents and that all drugs have side effects therefore not popular options for many of us, they still do not understand the power of diet to control these infections. Modern medicine is still not taking into account the need to reestablish our connection with Great Nature and harmonize with Her to truly heal.

Body Ecology – For Natural Solutions, Look to Nature

The Body Ecology System of Health and Healing has a humble reverence for Natur. By observing how Nature renews Herself and lives on eternally, we have found answers for creating balance. Native Americans and practitioners of other systems of health and healing such as Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine also sought answers from our Great Mother, the Earth. I realized that just as the earth has ecosystems, which regulate survival and balance, our bodies also have an “inner ecosystem” with the amazingly similar ways.

A healthy human intestinal ecosystem (inner ecosystem) is made up of the friendly microorganisms (microflora) that reside in our intestines and keep us healthy and strong. These microflora work to protect us by digesting our foods, strengthening our immune systems, and guarding us from fungal and viral infections. Instead of just helping us survive, the microflora help us thrive.

Anyone who chooses to will benefit from Body Ecology’s healing foods and principles. We have the only anti-fungal diet that understands the importance of fermented foods and liquids that repopulate and help maintain your inner ecosystem with an abundance of healthing microflora.

It is clear to me that doctors simply haven’t been properly introduced to the idea that the food a person is eating and digesting throughout the day is the single most important factor in overcoming these fungal infections. They are never trained to understand the meaning of the words: FOOD IS MEDICINE

Body Ecology – Nature’s Prescription

The Body Ecology Way has evolved over the past 20 years. While we may appear to be a new arrival on the scene, our system of health and healing has actually been refined and perfected over many years. Today, thankfully, many people (including physicians) are beginning to look at our programs for various disorders. We continue to research to find natural solutions for health and vitality for the generations to come. The Body Ecology’s Way is the most complete, comprehensive and successful system for treating fungal infections. Since 70% of Americans have candida, we can almost assume that world-wide numbers are staggering. Many people of all ages need knowledge of our Way.

How Long Does It Take to Overcome A Fungal Infection?

8 out of 10 Americans would benefit greatly from our first-stage (more limited) versioin of the Body Ecology program, until their fungal infection is well under control and the candida has been brought under control. If you are very strict with yourself this will take approximately 3 months). After that, we encourage you to widen out into a less strict version of our program adding in foods that are still very healthy but that do not feed a yeast infection. This way you can maintain health, energy and youthful vitality throughout the rest of your life.

Additionally, children with autism would benefit from the Body Ecology program, since candida sets the stage for autism. I believe autism is caused by the fungal infection entering the baby’s brain while he/she is in the womb or shortly after birth. You can read more about our theory on how this happens in my article: The Myths and Truths of the Mecury/Autism Connection.

In fact, Body Ecology has a growing number of medical practitioners who are tuning into our work. They too see the benefits of our principles and foods especially in the autism community, They are beginning to realize that fungal infections are very serious infections. As a result, Body Ecology is currently enjoying tremendous support from the medical community. When you, the consumer, want change and our more open-minded physicians want it as well, in a few generations we can create a world where everyone enjoys perfect health. But we must always look to Great Nature for our answers.

Nourishment as Healing

More and more adults with candida are giving birth to more and more children with candida. An entire generation predisposed to candida will be craving sugar in some form to feed the yeast. Just as you feel terrible when you have a viral infection, you understand what it’s like to have a fungal infection. Imagine starting out your life with a fungal infection. How is it possible to lead a happy, fulfilling life in pursuit of your dreams?

The goal of Body Ecology’s program is to create entire generations of people who are healthy and have the energy to fulfill their missions. The Body Ecology foods are a wonderful way to nourish yourself and future generations to health.

For healing fungal infections, like candida, it’s critical to go on an anti-fungal diet. Body Ecology the only anti-fungal program and it:

  • Is totally sugar-free, gluten-free, casein free and won’t feed the candida.
  • Includes fermented foods and drinks to build your inner ecosystem.
  • Is an antidote to harmful effects of antibiotics.
  • Provides minerals, which candida robs from your body.
  • Heals digestion – poor digestion further feeds the yeast.



Original article at

An article I wrote about Craniosacral Therapy for Islington’s ‘Highbury Directory’

I wrote this article a couple of days ago. It will be published by the Highbury Directory which is a free monthly paper distributed in Islington. The aim of these paragraphs is to modestly explain and maybe dispel a little bit the shroud of mystery surrounding Craniosacral Therapy.

Stop, remove your backpack and breathe!
How can Craniosacral Therapy (CST) help you

How many times do we feel emotionally drained and physically tired? That we are carrying too much weight in our lives even though our present circumstances may not be that difficult, realising many times that we have forgotten how to relax?

As a craniosacral therapist I see clients presenting a wide array of conditions. We, urban beings, living in this metropolis share the side effects of this stimulating, but arduous, way of living.

Deep emotional patterns such as anxiety, depression and panic attacks are just a few of the challenges our Central Nervous System (CNS) has to daily cope with. These emotional irritants will most always manifest at a tissue level as well, as the CNS unfolds from our brain, down the spine and through the nerves all the way to our feet and hands finishing in our skin.

This mind/ body relation therefore directly affects our posture, muscle tone, and our skeletal structure bringing muscle pains, spasms and cramps to name just a few. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to be able to peel away these layers of experience keeping us feeling light in our bodies and happy in our minds?

The osteopath William Sutherland, founder of this work, noticed that using a feather-like touch he could tune into the patient’s body and was able to listen to the inherent motions of muscles, organs and cranial bones. He felt rhythms of contraction and expansion in the whole body, and with experience he understood these to be the natural expression of harmony and health.

Craniosacral therapy uses this level of perception to listen and locate patterns of distress allowing them to re-align themselves; supporting the body and the whole person in moving to a more clear and balanced way of being.
In this manner, when a painful or afflicted area of the body finds its expression back to its right place (in harmony with the body as a whole) balance and health are restored and healing takes place.

Because cranial work is so gentle and respectful it is an ideal treatment for mothers and babies who often need extra support and care after the birth process. Even the easiest birth may imprint stress patterns in the nervous system and soft tissues creating discomfort, colic, constipation and disrupted sleep patterns in a baby.
New mothers often find craniosacral therapy speeds their own recovery from the birth process, eases anxiety and supports them through their transition into motherhood.
When a practitioner listens to the clients body with respect, acknowledging all the processes that are present at that moment in the patient, a safe and profound relationship is created where the forces than can be manifested from within are far more effective than anything else that can be applied from outside.
Lift the weight off your shoulders and relax with a deeply and profound treatment. This is craniosacral work.