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Snoring now, hyperactive later?

17. The children were drawn from the group of 866 2- to 13-year-olds whose parents were originally surveyed in the late 1990s, in the waiting rooms of several community-based pediatrics clinics. The parents agreed to allow the researchers to mail them a follow-up survey four years later; 229 returned it. The follow-up group was statistically comparable to the initial group.

Both at the baseline and at follow-up, the parents completed standardized questionnaires that measure a child's behavior and sleep characteristics. Children were encouraged to help their parents complete the questionnaires.

The initial study, published in March 2002 in the journal Pediatrics, found that kids who snored regularly were twice as likely as non-snorers to have hyperactivity or attention issues at the same time. Among boys under the age of 8, the rate was four times.

"To our knowledge, this new study is the first long-term, prospective research to show that regular snoring and other clues to the possible presence of sleep apnea predict future development of inattention and hyperactivity," says Chervin, M.D., M.S., the director of the U-M Health System's Michael S. Aldrich Sleep Disorders Laboratory and associate professor of neurology at the U-M Medical School. "These findings strengthen the hypothesis that untreated sleep-breathing problems in childhood can contribute to the development of hyperactivity."

Chervin and other sleep and breathing researchers have built up a large body of evidence on this issue in recent years. The sleep-behavior link rests on the concept that snoring, sleep apnea and other breathing problems during sleep diminish the quality of sleep, repeatedly reduce oxygen levels, and affect daytime behavior.

Data from small groups of children who received treatment for their sleep-breathing problems -- usually by removal of the tonsils and adenoids -- have indicated that behavior may improve as sleep improves. Larger studie
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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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