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Sleep disorders in children

I have reviewed many studies that show the negative affects of poor sleep on adults, including high blood pressure.

This study shows that sleep disordered breathing is linked with behavior problems in children with asthma.

The researchers suggest that children with asthma should be screened by their doctors for sleep problems.

The sleep disorder study

New York researchers studied 194 children with asthma who were aged between 4 and 10 years old. Sleep disordered breathing was assessed by using the Sleep-Related Breathing Disorder Questionnaire that looked at snoring, sleepiness, and attention/hyperactivity.

The carers were also given a behavioral assessment tool the Behavioral Problem Index, to identify behavioral issues. The Behavioral Problem Index, which is used by doctors helps quantify behavior problems in children.

The study outcomes

33% of the children had sleep disordered breathing, and nearly a third of the group had significant behavioral issues.

The researchers found that asthmatic children with sleep disordered breathing had significantly worse behavior overall compared to those with no sleep difficulties. They had worse scores on the Behavioral Problem Index including antisocial behavior, hyperactivity, anxiety, depression and conflict.

The researchers suggestions

They suggest that more research is needed to see if treatment of sleep disorders in these asthmatic children would help to improve their behavioral problems.

Meantime, lead researcher Dr. Fagnano suggests doctors be “particularly diligent about screening all children with asthma for sleep disordered breathing, and consider sleep disorders as a possible risk factor for behavior problems.” The study was published in the journal Paediatrics.

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