To further explore the origin of tears, Brown University researchers have created a tool for the analysis of the sound of crying baby that could provide clues about the crying patterns that may indicate health problems.

Crying Analyzer can perceive small variations in crying that the human ear can not detect. These variations can be used to identify potential neurological or developmental disorders, according to researchers.

The system could identify problems in premature babies, growing slower than normal, or have been exposed to drugs, says Dr. Lester, a member of the research team.
Crying Analyzer is a standard digital voice recorder that captures the crying baby attached to a computer program that analyzes the sounds and extracts a set of information about their acoustic characteristics.

Crying Analyzer measures subtle variations of crying baby that may suggest brain problems or nervous system. In addition to frequency, the system can measure other characteristics of tears, such as intensity, time and distortion.

Dr. Lester says the crying analyzer can not detect specific mental problems. "It's not like a blood test," he said, rather, would be like a red flag that a baby may have problems.

A baby's brain is very plastic: its development is largely determined by the home environment during the first years of life. Mourn social functions as a signal that affects how parents respond, concludes Dr. Lester.

After honing and put the finishing touches to the system, Dr. Lester and his colleagues plan to offer it for free online, as they wish to be used widely.

A Flexible Analysis Tool for the Quantitative Acoustic Assessment of Infant Cry.  Brian Reggiannini, Xiaoxue Li, Harvey F. Silverman. LEMS, School of Engineering, Box D, Brown University, Providence, RI. Stephen J. Sheinkopf, Barry M. Lester. Center for the Study of Children at Risk, Brown Alpert Medical School, Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, Providence, RI


Picture By Crimfants ( [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons