Thursday, June 10, 2010

Suspected Attention Disorders May Mask Sleep Disorders in Kids

A new article on Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s blog, Paging Dr. Gupta, reports on research from the 19th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. The meeting took place in San Antonio, Texas from June 4-6, 2010.

The results indicate that attention-deficit disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children could be a misdiagnosed sleep disorder.

The study included 100 children. They were seven to 17 years old. Slightly more than half were female. The group was three-quarters Caucasian.

The parents or guardians of each child answered a sleep questionnaire. Results show that 18 percent of patients in the study were at risk for sleep-disordered breathing, including sleep apnea and snoring.

Dr. Rose Sheats from the University of North Carolina helped lead the research.

Past studies found that facial features help dentists detect sleep disorders in children. But Sheats said that their research indicates "you can't rely on the type of face a child has, to assume that they are or are not at risk for sleep-disordered breathing."

The scientists compared race, age, gender, body mass index and skull X-rays. They found no associations between these factors and sleep apnea, making the condition hard to detect in the kids.

Sheats explained that sleep questionnaires can help dental professionals detect the disorders in children.

"We as orthodontists and dentists who see children regularly have an opportunity to recognize the possibility that a child is at risk for sleep apnea or disordered breathing," Sheats said. "If you treat it, many of these conditions can be reversible at a young age."

For parents, Sheats said, it's important for your child's dentist or orthodontist to be asking a few simple but relevant questions about their sleep pattern and behaviors, including snoring, inattention in class, misbehaving in class or waking up having a hard time breathing in the middle of the night.

The child can then be referred for a sleep study and seen by a physician.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.