The Children who regularly snore have changes in their brain structure that could account for behavioral problems such as lack of focus, learning difficulties and hyperactivity.
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) came up with the study, published in journal Nature Communications. The researchers examined MRI images from more than 10,000 children aged nine to ten years enrolled in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. This is one of the largest long-term studies of brain development and child health in the United States.
The scientists found that children who snored regularly were more likely to have thinner gray matter in several regions in the frontal lobes of the brain. These areas are responsible for higher reasoning skills and impulse control. Snoring cause disruption in sleep due to interrupted breathing and reduced oxygen supply to the brain.
Lead author Amal Issiah said that it was the largest study of its kind that connected snoring and brain abnormalities. He is an associate professor of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and Paediatrics at UMSOM.
Dr. Isaiah warned parents that children who snores more than twice a week needs much evaluation. He said that the condition could be treated with tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. As the brain has the ability to repair itself, especially in children, the lead researcher said that timely recognition and treatment of obstructive sleep disorder might help in mitigating these brain changes. The researchers also mentioned the need for more research to look into the relationship between snoring and brain changes.