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Snoring now, hyperactive later?

ANN ARBOR, MI -- Several years ago, University of Michigan researchers published some of the strongest evidence yet that children who snore when they sleep are far more likely to have attention and hyperactivity problems than their non-snoring peers.

Today, that link takes on a new long-term dimension with the publication in the journal Sleep of follow-up data from some of the same children who took part in the earlier study.

Indeed, children in the original study who snored regularly, in comparison to those who did not, were about four times more likely to have developed new hyperactivity by the time the U-M team contacted their families four years later. In other words, snoring early in life predicted new or worsened behavior problems four years later.

Similar behavior was seen among children who had had other symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, in which repeated pauses in breathing disrupt sleep and can reduce blood oxygen levels. For example, children with daytime sleepiness in the original study were also more likely to have developed hyperactivity four years later.

The findings held true even after the researchers took into account which children already had been identified as hyperactive during the first study, and which ones were taking prescription behavior medicines during the follow-up survey. In fact says lead author and U-M sleep researcher Ronald D. Chervin, M.D., M.S., inattention and hyperactivity at follow-up were usually predicted better by snoring and other sleep apnea symptoms four years earlier than by those same symptoms at follow-up.

One group, the boys who were under the age of 8 and had the worst sleep-breathing problems during the first study, were approximately nine times more likely to have developed new hyperactivity four years later than boys of the same age who hadn't had such sleep problems.

The results are from a prospective study of 229 children who are now between the ages of 6 and
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Contact: Kara Gavin
kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
1-Jul-2005


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