Medicine: Capsules: May 10, 1982

WATER BABIES

Waterbeds, a splashy sales item among the flower children of the '60s, have found a new constituency: premature babies. Studies have shown that preemies sleep better, grow faster and generally seem more contented when their incubators are fitted with waterbeds. Researchers at Stanford University also found that gently oscillating waterbeds reduce breathing difficulties and encourage normal heartbeat in sleeping preemies, perhaps because the pulsations mimic some aspects of the uterine environment. Preemie intensive care units, notes one researcher, tend to be "noisy, bright, loud places with constant activity. Anyone who...

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