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Apnea associated with cognitive problems

Apnea associated with cognitive problems
Obesity, sleep apnea and behavioral and learning difficulties can cause significant impairment in children, but a new study suggests that these three problems interact with each other, exacerbating the effects of each individual problem.

Researchers at the University Hospital of Chicago Comer Children Pritzker School of Medicine and fulfilled the vision, cognitive tests and body weight in more than 350 healthy children with normal development from 6 to 10, and found a complex relationship between three factors.

"Cognitive functioning in children affected by health problems related to frequent, such as obesity and sleep-disordered breathing," the authors wrote. "In addition, poorer mental processes of integration may place a child at greater risk of adverse health outcomes."

On the other hand, "good cognitive skills may be protective against weight gain and sleep-disordered breathing," said Karen Spruyt, author of the study. "If the brain can function optimally, can help protect against the clinical manifestation of the disease."

This study, said, published this week in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, is one of the only to assess the relationship between obesity, sleep apnea and cognitive ability at the same time, either in children or adults.

Previous research has looked separately. For example, studies have found that the mental functioning of obese people with sleep apnea is altered, but these studies did not look in the inverse relationship. Other research has found a relationship between body weight and sleep disorders, and a study published in January found a link between lack of sleep and childhood obesity.

The new study findings suggest, Spruyt said that by targeting obesity in children, physicians should also detect sleep apnea and cognitive impairment due to the improvement of these variables could also lead to an improvement in the other .

"Note that all interact," she said. "Do not dispose of any of the confounding factors."

The exact nature of the relationship is not yet known

"The conclusion of this study is that it is not as simple as one of these factors makes the other," said Dr. David Rapoport, director of sleep medicine program at New York University School of Medicine in New York, not involved in the research. "But it's not clear exactly what the relationship."
Rapoport, said the treatment of obesity in general, will be responsible for sleep apnea as well, but this study highlights the importance of having other problems into account.
"Only the treatment of sleep apnea, for example, can improve cognitive function, because obesity may also be involved."

But he also said that childhood obesity is extremely difficult to treat, so that the results associated with it, such as sleep apnea and diabetes, are often targeted first.

"We try to treat obesity, but not us," he said. "In the past, we've been told that putting a child on a diet, but the success rate is miserable."

Research has not evaluated the interaction of these three factors in adults, partly because it is harder to measure cognitive function in adults. Abilities of children, on the other hand, can be assessed in the school.

He also explained that Spruyt children's minds are still developing during early school years, and are more vulnerable to health effects of obesity and sleep apnea.

Spruyt also said the next logical step in research would be to try to determine exactly how obesity and sleep apnea affects the brain.

"This is a springboard for imaging studies," he said. "Imaging studies to help locate brain areas that are affected."
Apnea associated with cognitive problems

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