Posts Tagged ‘ sleep apnea ’

Study: Behavioral Problems More Likely for Kids Who Snore

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Babies and toddlers who snore, gasp for breath at night, or breathe with their mouths open in their sleep are more likely to have behavioral problems later, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found.

The longitudinal study is following 8,000 British children based on surveys filled out by their parents.  So far has found that at ages 4 and 7 the children with “sleep-disordered breathing” exhibit behavioral issues from hyperactivity to social problems and emotional issues at a higher rate–50 percent higher at age 7–than children who do not have the disordered breathing.

“It probably has to do with an abnormal gas exchange where the brain gets too little oxygen during sleep, which has potential effects on the prefrontal cortex,” study author Karen Bonuck told The Boston Globe, referring to the area of the brain that governs self-control and decision-making.  Globe health blogger Deborah Kotz writes:

That certainly sounds scary to any parent who’s ever heard snoring drifting down the hallway at night, but Bonuck said there’s no cause for alarm.

First of all, a lot of kids snore or breathe funny when they sleep. In the study, 55 percent of parents reported that their children exhibited disordered breathing behaviors — and most of these children didn’t have any behavioral problems.

Parents should, though, discuss snoring or other breathing abnormalities during sleep with their child’s doctor. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that doctors screen for sleep apnea in children and refer them on for exams with ear, nose and throat specialists if they suspect any problems. Surgery to remove the tonsils and adenoids (clumps of immune tissue that lie at the back of the throat) is the most common treatment for those determined to have obstructed breathing, and some recent studies suggest that it can help improve behavioral issues such as hyperactivity in children with disordered sleep breathing.

Image: Sleeping child, via Shutterstock.

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Study: Infant Sleep Problems, Adult Sleep Disorders May Be Linked

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Infants and toddlers who exhibit sleep problems–a common issue, any parent will tell you–may have a greater risk of developing sleep disorders later in life, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found.  The study reports that one in 10 infants and toddlers fall into the risk category, and urges pediatricians to screen for sleep issues and signs of potential problems, chiefly regular snoring that can signal later onset of obstructive sleep apnea.

The New York Times reports on the findings:

The findings also challenged a widespread notion that children who have sleep troubles early on tend to outgrow them. In the study, children who had one or more sleep problems at any point in early childhood were three to five times as likely to have a sleep problem later on.

“The data indicate that sleep problems in children are not an isolated phenomenon,” said Dr. Kelly Byars, an associate professor at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and an author of the study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics. “If you have it early and it’s not remedied, then it’s likely to continue over time.”

The warning signs of a disorder can vary widely. But some indicators of a potential problem in children are loud snoring several nights a week, frequent bouts of getting up in the middle of the night, nightmares or night terrors, and routinely taking longer than 20 minutes to fall asleep.

Image: Infant crying in crib, via Shutterstock.

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