The ABC's of Snoring and Childhood Cognition

American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine
Thursday, September 29, 2011

Snoring kids can be cute, but snoring may reflect a serious problem. New research in the journal Sleep and Breathing found that primary snoring is associated with neurocognitive impairments in children.

The community-based study included 1,114 primary school children. The researchers identified 410 children who never snored, and 92 children who habitually snored.

Polysomnogram (PSG) scores distinguished children with primary snoring from those with upper airway resistance syndrome or obstructive sleep apnea. Children with upper airway resistance syndrome and sleep apnea experience pauses in breath that can prevent restorative sleep.

Neurocognitive impairments and poor school performance were compared between children who never snored, those with PS, and those with upper airway resistance syndrome or sleep apnea.

Of the 92 snorers, 69 had primary snoring while 23 had upper airway resistance syndrome or obstructive sleep apnea.

Compared to children who never snored, children with primary snoring demonstrated significantly more hyperactive and inattentive behavior. They also had a higher risk for poor school performance in mathematics, science and spelling. The risks for primary were on par for children with upper airway resistance syndrome or sleep apnea.

These results show that children with non-apneic primary snoring may exhibit significant neurocognitive impairments. Consequences may be similar to those associated with upper airway resistance syndrome or sleep apnea. If confirmed, primary snoring is not “benign” and may require treatment.


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