Sunday, November 9, 2008

Snoring Children are Stupid Children

So sayeth the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. According to them, 2 out of every 3 children who snore have some kind of cognitive defecit. I want to know if they're looking at the chicken, or its egg.

The study sounds like it was a real party, because they used near infared spectroscopy, "which is able to penetrate the skull with high-powered light beams." While they were in there, they measured oxygen levels, and it turns out that kids who snore end up with brains that are less saturated with oxygen. Now, from the press release alone it's not clear whether the lack of oxygen stunts the brain's development and leads to the cognitive deficit, or whether the cognitive defecit is preventing them from correctly regulating their breathing while asleep.

Really, all they say at the end is that this study shows that they have a lot more to study. For one thing, children with sleep apnea (who also had the same high incidence of cognitive development) had higher blood oxygenation levels while asleep than "normal" children. So, it's a noteworthy study not because they learned anything groundbreaking, but because they're penetrating skulls and using high-powered light beams.

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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