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Sleep Med. 2001 Sep;2(5):407-16.

Nasal bilevel positive airway pressure therapy in children with a sleep-related breathing disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: effects on electrophysiological measures of brain function.

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Brain and Behavior Research Institute, Department of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia.



To examine the effect of nasal bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) treatment for concurrent sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBDs) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on electrophysiological measures of spontaneous brain activity and auditory stimulus processing.


Nineteen children diagnosed with both SRBD and ADHD participated. Electroencephalogram (EEG) activity was recorded during a resting period and an auditory oddball task before beginning BiPAP treatment, after 6 months on treatment, and after a subsequent 1 week non-treatment period. Treatment effects on EEG and event-related potentials (ERPs) to target stimuli were examined via topographic analysis.


Thirteen of the initial 19 children completed 6 months of BiPAP therapy, with six lost mainly due to compliance problems. Children on BiPAP therapy showed a significant decrease in slow-wave (delta and theta) and an increase in fast wave (beta) EEG activity. The P3 component of the ERP showed treatment effects in amplitude and latency.


The electrophysiological data suggest that SRBDs may contribute to ADHD symptomatology. Treatment of SRBD with BiPAP therapy in children with concurrent ADHD can lead to significant changes, in the direction of normalization, of the typical electrophysiological features of ADHD.


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