Research published in the November issue of Obesity shows a surprising 25 out of 100 overweight, inactive children tested positive for sleep-disordered breathing, including telltale snoring.
After about three months of vigorous after-school physical activity such as jumping rope, basketball and tag games, the number of children who tested positive for a sleep disorder was cut in half, according to lead researcher, Dr. Catherine L. Davis. In children who exercised the longest, the number was reduced by 80 percent.
The children were among 100 black and white boys and girls ages 7 to 11 enrolled in a study looking at the effect of exercise on metabolism. For the purposes of that study, the children were divided into three groups: a control group as well as those who exercised 20 or 40 minutes daily.
In fact researchers found the average score for all children who exercised – even those who did not test positive for sleep disorders – improved on the Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire.
"Existing data suggests about two percent of children have sleep problems but with 37 percent of children now considered overweight, the percentage may be much higher," says Dr. Davis, clinical health psychologist at the Medical College of Georgia and the study's first author.
"We believe this study is a red flag to pediatricians to ask parents about their children's snoring," she says. "Snoring does not appear to be benign in children. Not sleeping well can affect children's behavior, their ability to function in school. We don't know yet if it affects their development."
When Georgia researchers first gave the Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire, which looks at symptoms of sleep disordered breathing – such as snoring, loud breathing and daytime inattentiveness – they were surprised as well by how many children tested positive.
The questionnaire, given to parents, has been shown to provide results similar to those of polysomnography, a monitoring of physiological activities such as breathing during sleep. "We asked parents about caffeine intake, medications, usual bed and wake times to see if the children are chronically sleep-deprived, asked if they had a tonsillectomy because that usually fixes sleep apnea in children," Dr. Davis says.
Interestingly sleepiness was not an issue because children instead tend to display attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder-type behavior when they don't get enough sleep, she says. Caffeine intake also may have played a role in subverting sleepiness, the researchers say.
Also, the body mass index, based on height, weight, age and sex, did not improve as children exercised and became asymptomatic. However the growing children got fitter, built muscle and lost fat, Dr. Davis says. "It affects their fatness, their fitness, their cardiovascular risk factors, it's just their weight doesn't go down without a change in diet, just like adults," she says. Adult studies have shown a similar relationship between obesity and sleep apnea and how exercise can ameliorate sleep apnea.
To learn more about sleep patterns in overweight children, Dr. Davis has started a similar study using wristbands to record movement during sleep and fingertip pulse oximeters to measure oxygen levels.
Dr. Amy R. Blanchard, pulmonologist and director of the MCG Georgia Sleep Center, is working with Dr. Davis on the new study and hopes their monitoring approach will prove an effective, inexpensive and unobtrusive way to identify early problems.
"It may give us an early diagnosis of something that could potentially affect their outcome in many ways," says Dr. Blanchard who has been surprised by the amount of sleep disruption they've already seen in the children, some of whom are only slightly overweight. She notes that some may even be playing video games or watching television when they are supposed to be sleeping, further detracting from a good night's rest.
"Kids can have sleep apnea for a couple of reasons," she says. "A normal-weight child can have sleep apnea because they have big tonsils and adenoids and many times their problems can be cured with surgery."
Gaining weight can exacerbate sleep problems or even cause them by contributing to a narrowed airway, she says. The child lies down, throat muscles relax, the tongue falls back, the airway gets obstructed, oxygen levels may drop, the child is aroused and the cycle begins again. Snoring, present in essentially everyone with sleep apnea, results from the vibration of excess tissue – whether it's fat, large natural anatomy or both – as the child breathes in.
"The published study suggests we need to be looking more diligently at kids, not necessarily just kids with big tonsils who snore, but any child that is snoring or heavy," Dr. Blanchard says. "It's just like in adults, when doctors start asking their patients, they find a lot of people snore."
Toni Baker | EurekAlert!
Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences