Saturday, June 30, 2012

A window of opportunity for intervention? Early identification of sleep problems in preschool children with behavioral problems.

This is a very interesting article. It is well known that children develop cognitive problems when they have sleep apnea. IQ drops. Neuronal in the hippocampus  is lost.  However,  there may be a window to intervene early  before the evolution of cognitive problems.  

This article suggests that children with behavioral problems should be screened for sleep apnea early before cognitive problems are noted. JR

Sleep-disordered breathing in preschool children is associated with behavioral, but not  cognitive, impairments.


 2012 Jun;13(6):621-31. Epub 2012 Apr 13.Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.



Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) has been associated with impaired cognitive and behavioral function in school children; however, there have been limited studies in preschool children when the incidence of the disorder peaks. Thus, the aim of this study was to compare cognitive and behavioral functions of preschool children with SDB to those of non-snoring control children.


A clinical sample of 3-5year-old children (primary snoring [PS], n=60; mild obstructive sleep apnea syndrome [OSAS], n=32; moderate/severe [MS] OSAS, n=24) and a community sample of non-snoring control children (n=37) were studied with overnight polysomnography. Cognitive performance and behavioral information were collected.


Children with PS and mild OSAS had poorer behavior than controls on numerous measures (p<.05-p<.001), and on some measures they had poorer behavior than the MS OSAS group (p<.05). In contrast, all groups performed similarly on cognitive assessment. Outcomes related more to sleep than respiratory measures.


SDB of any severity was associated with poorer behavior but not cognitive performance. The lack of significant cognitive impairment in this age group may have identified a "window of opportunity" where early treatment may prevent deficits arising later in childhood.

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