Sleep Apnea in Kids Cuts Brain Power
Study: Lower IQs and Decreased Brain Activity Seen in Kids With Obstructive Sleep Disorder
WebMD News Archive
Wake-up Call for Parents, Pediatricians
Halbower tells WebMD that the findings should serve as a wake-up call for
both parents and pediatricians about the importance of treating sleep-breathing
problems in children.
She adds that the importance of determining if the brain changes are
permanent or can be reversed with effective treatment for sleep
Surgery is the treatment of choice for kids with enlarged tonsils and
adenoids, and other treatments are available for those with restricted
nighttime breathing due to other causes.
"These findings highlight the importance of recognizing and treating
sleep-disordered breathing in children as soon as possible," Halbower says.
"Sleep is critical for learning and brain function, so parents should not
hesitate to discuss sleep disturbance with their child's pediatrician."
A child who snores regularly and also exhibits signs of abnormal daytime
sleepiness, irritability, or hyperactivity may have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea-related behavioral problems are often misdiagnosed as attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Atlanta mom Susan Williams is a believer. Her now 4-year-old daughter
Zelda's severe sleep apnea led to speech delays and constant daytime
sleepiness. Surgery six months ago to remove enlarged tonsils and adenoids has
made all the difference, Williams says.
"She is a different kid," she says. "Almost immediately after
the surgery her speech began to improve and she is much more alert during the
day. It just makes sense that if a kid is not getting the oxygen they need then
they aren't going to develop as well mentally or physically."