Snoring And Apnoea Blog

Snoring Lowers Kids' IQs

Posted on Mon, Mar 14, 2011

According to researchers at the University of Virginia, children who suffer from a sleep disordered breathing condition are likely to suffer intellectual impairment similar to that caused by lead poisoning.

An article on says:

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Three decades ago, medical investigators began sounding the alarm about how lead exposure causes IQ deficits in children. Today, researchers at the University of Virginia Health System say children with sleep disorders can face similar risks of intellectual impairment.

UVa researchers have been studying sleep disturbances in children with enlarged tonsils and adenoids for the past seven years. In a recent study, they discovered that youngsters who snore nightly scored significantly lower on vocabulary tests than those who snore less often.

“Vocabulary scores are known to be the best single predictor of a Snoring found to lower childrens' IQchild’s IQ and the strongest predictor of academic success,” explains Dr. Paul M. Suratt, a pulmonologist who directs the UVa Sleep Laboratory. According to Dr. Suratt, the vocabulary differences associated with nightly snoring are equivalent to the IQ dissimilarities attributed to lead exposure.

“Studies show that, even at nontoxic levels, lead exposure can reduce a child’s IQ by more than seven points,” he notes. Sleep disorders can be intellectually and behaviorally detrimental to children because they interrupt the deep sleep patterns needed for healthy development. At night, children with sleep disorders can be observed snoring, snorting, gasping, tossing and turning. During the day, these children can be irritable, hyperactive and unable to concentrate.

A key goal of the UVa researchers is to predict which children with sleep disorders are most likely to suffer cognitive impairment or develop behavior problems.

“It’s more difficult than you would think,” Dr. Suratt explains. “Children with sleep disordered breathing may have cognitive impairment even if they don’t completely stop breathing, even if their oxygen levels don’t fall and even if they don’t totally wake up.”

In a series of studies involving six to twelve-year-olds, researchers have been piecing together a list of risk indicators. So far, snoring frequency combined with sleep lab results have proven to be the most reliable predictors of intellectual impairment and behavioral problems.

Sleep duration and race appear to be important risk factors, too. “One of our most recent studies found that kids who snore nightly and spend less time in bed score significantly lower on cognitive tests than children who snore less frequently and spend longer times in bed,” Dr. Suratt explains. “We’ve also found that obstructive sleep disordered breathing (OSDB) occurs more often in African American children and, therefore, places them at greater risk of cognitive impairment.”

As part of their quest to accurately identify at-risk children, UVa researchers are now testing a device that records breathing sounds during sleep at home. When used in the lab, this method has proven more sensitive than existing equipment in detecting sleep apnea in children. “We’re getting closer to the day when we can quickly establish risk profiles and effective treatment plans for children with sleep disorders. Our goal is to minimize the cognitive and behavioral problems that often develop,” says Dr. Suratt.

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For more information about snoring and related sleep disordered breathing conditions such as sleep apnoa, contact us on 1300 246 637 or on the form via our 'Contact Us' page.

Tags: snoring, children, IQ, kids

Snoring. It's Your Parents' Fault

Posted on Sun, Dec 12, 2010

A recent study of 700 children has found that children of parents who snore are three times more likely to snore themselves.  Furthermore, these children may be at increased risk of developing behavioral problems such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and other snoring-associated health problems.Snoring in children is linked to ADHD and learning difficulties.

The study has been published in Chest, the journal of respiratory and critical care medicine.  Researchers say studies suggest that frequent snoring can lead to behavioral problems, cognitive deficits, and heart disease.  (See other posts on this blog for more details.)

Snoring is also a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea / apnea, and researchers say children who snore frequently should be evaluated by a sleep specialist.

Tags: snoring, children, hereditary, ADHD

Exercise Reduces Snoring In Children

Posted on Thu, Dec 02, 2010

Snoring has long been associated with poor sleep quality – but researchers such as Dr. Catherine Davis of the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta are beginning to see that this can lead to learning and behavioral problems that are often mistaken for disorders such as ADHD.

And prescribing prescribing drugs like Ritalin to kids who aren’t sleeping well will only make matters worse, she says.

To investigate whether exercise might reduce sleep-disordered breathing among overweight kids, Davis and her team randomly assigned 100 overweight children to 13 weeks of “high-dose” exercise (40 minutes every school day), “low-dose” exercise (20 minutes), or to a control group that did not perform any additional exercise.

At the beginning of the study, parents of one quarter of the kids reported that their children had symptoms, such as snoring and inattention, serious enough to indicate a problem.

By the close of the program, half of the children who snored and were assigned to one of the exercise groups had stopped snoring. Greater improvements were seen among the high-dose exercisers. However, weight, fatigue and behavior did not change.

According to Davis, it’s possible that the workouts helped reduce the fat surrounding the neck area that can lead to collapse of the airway during sleep.  The exercise may also have had metabolic or neurological effects that made the brain, nerves and muscles better able to maintain an open airway.

Tags: snoring, exercise, children, kids, ADHD