TODAY   |  March 05, 2014

Baby sleep machines may harm hearing

Dr. Adam Ofer and Dr. Lori Mosca join TODAY to chat about some of the latest health headlines, including a study that finds that sound machines to soothe babies could be actually be hazardous to your tot’s ears.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> new information about who is at greater risk for having a heart attack and an important blood test for pregnant women .

>> here to helps us go behind the headlines, and a professor of medicine at columbia university medical center . good to see you both.

>> good morning.

>> let's start with this first one. kind of alarming. researcher is testing the noise level of those infant sound machines that folks, parents use to put their babies to sleep. what do they find?

>> big stuff for moms and dads, right? before this study came out, there was a study. a couple studies show that background noise , white noise throughout the night is bad for babies. all this stuff about keeping noise on throughout the night might be decreasing the quality and quantity of their sleep. but kudos to the researchers who said maybe this isn't too loud at all. they took 14 products and tested them. every single one when put next to the crib is too loud. remember, the kids' ears a little bit different than ours. they can't be exposed to noises like we can. it's actually unsafe.

>> and just to be clear. they didn't find they actually caused damage to the ears, but it could probably cause damage.

>> absolutely.

>> i think we have to keep in mind, babies are not just small adults. they are developing and we have to -- sometimes when we're trying to do something that we think is a good thing, we have to be cautious because there could be an inadvertent consequence.

>> you do have one of those sound machines, keep it further away.

>> keep it further away. and also, these were tested at maximum volume.

>> absolutely.

>> shut it off when the kid falls asleep. doesn't have to be on all night.

>> this one is your field of expertise, i guess, a study found that rage often proceeds a heart attack and may be the trigger to a heart attack .

>> yeah. that's right. this study found that the greater the number of anger outbursts in a month, the greater the risk of a heart attack or dying of heart disease . and this is a good lesson for all of us. anger management 's important. but i think, you know, we look at a lot of risk factors for heart disease , depression. maybe we should be screening for anger. and i think it's important message for all of us when we do get angry, we want to replace that with something that's more positive. maybe compassion. to get cut off while you're driving, think of that person maybe having a rough day . what you do when you get angry is hurting yourself.

>> is this hold true for both men and women at the same rate?

>> it holds true for both. when you're looking at the people screaming and yelling, go, that guy's going to have a heart attack .

>> anger increases your blood pressure , your heart rate , inflammation, it triggers a heart attack . we want to try to prevent.

>> medications aren't going to solve this, beta blockers , shows it doesn't help the situation. we have to look at things like meditation and yoga.

>> take a time-out.

>> yeah. absolutely.

>> an important study looked at what's called cell free dna test for pregnant women . this is probably one huge advantage.

>> biggest advance in my entire career, in the last several decades, this is huge. we do this in my practice already. so there are about 250,000 invasive genetic tests, where you put a bigger needle and take a piece of placenta out to make sure the baby has the right number of chromosomes. turns out a mom early in the pregnancy has minute amounts of the dna of the baby floating around, and able to capture that dna , the cell-free dna floating around and make sure there's the right number of chromosomes. doesn't look at everything right now, but looks at the most common abnormalties that typically cause abnormalties in babies. going to reduce the number of invasive tests on moms.

>> and also false positives . i've had so many friends where they have a lot of false positives . and this test is a little more accurate than that.

>> so it's 100% sensitive, looks like. misses probably close to no problems. and if it catches a problem, it's probably about 50/50 whether it's a real problem versus the other tests if it was a quote, unquote problem, maybe 5% chance it was a real issue. really decrease the false positives .

>> still cost prohibitive, though. but i think like most new technologies over time .

>> great information, doctors. thank you, both, for being here. appreciate