CBS Newspath: Vibrating mattress could help babies born dependent on opioids

By Sarah Willey

UMass Medical School Communications

May 11, 2017
  Elisabeth Salisbury, PhD, is investigating how a mattress device designed to deliver a small amount of therapeutic vibration could alleviate symptoms associated with neonatal abstinence syndrome, according to a CBS Newspath TV segment.
  Elisabeth Salisbury, PhD, talks with CBS about her research. 

Elisabeth Salisbury, PhD, research associate professor of pediatrics, is investigating how a mattress device designed to deliver a small amount of therapeutic vibration could alleviate symptoms associated with neonatal abstinence syndrome, according to a CBS Newspath TV segment.

The noninvasive treatment could make a difference for the smallest victims of the opioid crisis—babies exposed to drugs during pregnancy.

“It’s gentle. It’s like sitting in a car going 60 miles an hour in your Cadillac,” Dr. Salisbury told CBS reporter Kenneth Craig.

The number of babies born dependent on drugs has increased five-fold over 10 years in the United States. Every 25 minutes, a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal. They’re often treated with strong medicine, such as morphine, for their symptoms, including tremors, excessive crying and irritability.

Results from a pilot study conducted by Salisbury and colleagues were published in PLOS ONElast month. The study found the subtle vibration in the mattress helped stabilize the breathing of babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome. This approach could someday be a nonpharmacological treatment for this vulnerable patient population.

Related story on UMassMedNow:
Infant apnea prevention technology conceived at UMMS shown effective in clinical trial

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