Friday, June 03, 2005

Apnea or Apathy?

Patients who snore or have other symptoms of sleep apnea often undergo testing in a sleep laboratory to measure the number of breathing pauses and arousals that occur while they slumber. But doctors find these tests do not effectively predict daytime consequences suspected to arise from sleep apnea, such as sleepiness in adults or hyperactivity in children.

"We looked at the relationship between one EEG signal and the breathing cycle, and in most of the children we found significant correlation between the amount of energy in the EEG signal and different phases in the breathing cycle," says Joseph Burns, Ph.D., a senior scientist who led the effort at Altarum.

A small number of children initially tested, however the strength of that correlation did show some promise as a predictor of sleepiness and reduced attention, so researchers are now studying more children.

"This could give us insight into the physiology of how sleep apnea causes sleep disruption, daytime sleepiness, attention deficit and behavioral problems," Chervin says. "Currently, we think sleepiness arises because apneas cause arousals that we can easily see in brain wave patterns. Maybe these obvious, full arousals are less important than thousands of briefer arousals, or microarousals, that can only be detected by computers. If we could prove this, we might improve our ability to identify who has a serious sleep and breathing problem and who might benefit from treatment."

This is simply fascinating to me... For all my daughter's visits with doctors, counselors, neurologists (including many EEGs), etc, it took them 12 years to discover that she had problems with her tonsils and adenoids -- affecting more than 80% of her nose breathing, and 40% of her mouth breathing. After surgery, it still took another year to 'discover' that due to her teeth & palate, that she cannot properly, nor fully, close her mouth. This also affects her ability to chew, swallow & yes, breathe while eating.

To adjust this, she needs orthodontics, which of course everyone fights paying for, saying it is 'cosmetic.' Without insurance, she must remain a mouth breather...

Yes, she also snores.

I have suspected a lack of oxygen could aggravate - if not explain - her learning disabilities, attention problems, behavior issues & moods -- but what can I possibly know of such things? I am "only a mother," not a Wise-God-Doctor. (Yes, that's annoyed sarcasim you hear.)

Why doesn't the medical community use K.I.S.S., "Keep It Simple, Sweety" (yes, I am trying to be nice), and look at logical problems first? Or at least include basics in their approach? I know all of her special needs are not due to breathing, apnea & mouth problems, but they sure must impact negatively...

Seems to me like these professional are sleeping on the job.

Research & Reading:
UMHS, Altarum study finds sleep apnea disrupts sleep throughout night

Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Dr. Alan Greene on Sleep Deprivation and ADD/ADHD

Good Night, Sleep Tight, and Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite: Establishing Positive Sleep Patterns for Young Children with Autism Spectrum

Sleep Apnea (Sleep-Disordered Breathing)
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