Can Snoring As A Baby Predict Behavior Problems?

Here’s a new study which reinforces what I’ve been saying about sleep-breathing problems and children: That it’s a major undiagnosed cause of developmental and behavior problems in childhood. Researchers from Albert Einstein College of medicine followed over 11,000 children over a 6 year period. Parents were asked about snoring in sleep surveys from 6 months on, and at 7 years, they filled out a behavioral assessment. Not too surprisingly, children who snored as early as 6 months of age had a 50% increased risk of developing behavior problems by age 7 compared to controls. 

We know that children who are sleep deprived become paradoxically hyperactive. In contrast, adults get sleepy (there are always exceptions to this observation). This study supports another study which I mentioned in the past showing that in children with ADHD who undergo tonsillectomy, about 50% can be cured for their ADHD condition. It’s no wonder that stimulants like Ritalin can help to calm a hyperactive child. 

It’s important to note that I’m not saying all cases of ADHD are due to sleep-breathing disorders. However, it’s been estimated that a significant number of children (25 to 50%) with an ADHD diagnosis could have a treatable sleep-breathing problem. With these numbers in mind, wouldn’t it make sense to routinely screen for obstructive sleep apnea or a sleep-breathing problem before being given an ADHD diagnosis?

 

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2 thoughts on “Can Snoring As A Baby Predict Behavior Problems?

  1. I am really starting to believe this for my son. He is now 7. But at 15 months he was climbing out of his crib. He was difficult to get to sleep from that point on. At age 4 noticed he would snore, but didn’t think much of it until after his younger brother with Down Syndrome was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. For his brother the Ped ENT recommended his tonsils and adnoids removed as well as later a tongue reduction. Now my 7 year old son has had a sleep study and we are waiting to hear results. But he has a severe case of ADHD. We are still trying to find the right daytime meds for him. ( He takes Zoloft 50 mg, Ritalin SR 20mg, Tenex 2 mg twice a day, Ritalin 5 mg) He’s been in therapy for over a year with little change. Night time we have to medicate him as well, to get him to go to sleep. otherwise he only sleeps may 2 -3 hours and is up again. But the meds to get him to sleep through the night have had to be increased. I”m hopeful that his sleep study will show us something. He was medicated (trazadone 100 mg plus 2 mg of Melatonin) for his study. Otherwise there wouldn’t have been any sleep to analyze.

    I called my self to arrange the sleep study consult after reading a pamphelt in a doctor office. I had brought up my sons sleep issues to many providers which they didn’t think was relevent. He is also still a bedwetter. He has never been night-time trained.