Sleep apnea could cause ADHD in kids
Children with obstructive sleep apnea may be at a higher risk of developing ADHD-type behavioral problems. Using data from a five-year longitudinal cohort study called the Tucson Children’s Assessment of Sleep Apnea Study (TuCASA), researchers from the University of Arizona, Tucson examined the sleep and behavior patterns of Hispanic and Caucasian children between six and 11 years old.
During the test period, 23 of the 263 children studied developed sleep apnea. Another 21 children had persistent sleep apnea throughout the whole study period and 41 children had sleep apnea at the start of the study, but grew out of it within the five-year period. Parents were also asked to report on their child’s behavior difficulties thorough the test period.
According to the results, children with behavioral problems related to hyperactivity, attention, communication, social competency and self-care were four to five times more likely to have periodic incidents of sleep apnea and six times more likely to have persistent sleep apnea. Children with persistent sleep apnea were also seven times more likely to have parent-reported learning problems and three times more likely to have a C or lower grade average in school.
This is the first study of its kind to examine a link between childhood sleep apnea and behavioral problems.