Houston Area Pediatric Specialists

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Pediatric Sleep Apnea Linked to Brain Changes

Medical community slowly learning more about the consequences of sleep apnea in children. Dr. Susarla

In children with a common condition that causes them to periodically stop breathing during sleep, areas of the brain involved with thinking and problem-solving appear to be smaller than in children who sleep normally, a study finds.
Researchers can't say the brain changes actually cause problems for children at home or school, but they do say the condition, known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), has been tied to behavior and cognitive problems.
"It really does seem that there is a change in the brain or that the brain is affected," said study author Paul Macey, who is director of technology and innovation at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Nursing.

Macey and colleagues write in Scientific Reports that up to 5 percent of all children are affected by OSA. The condition causes the child's airway to become blocked, which ultimately causes the brain to go without oxygen for short periods of time and may wake the child up.

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