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Pediatr Clin North Am. 2004 Feb;51(1):89-115.

Neurologic disorders masquerading as pediatric sleep problems.

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Department of Neurology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, MSC10 5620, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001, USA.


Neurologic disorders may present or masquerade as pediatric sleep problems and fool the pediatrician, which may delay diagnosis and treatment. Many of the sleep problems in children with neurologic disorders arise directly from primary dysfunction or delayed maturation of their sleep-wake regulation systems. It is important to realize that nocturnal frontal lobe seizures or cluster headaches can be mistaken for night terrors, and craniopharyngiomas or myotonic dystrophy may present as narcolepsy-cataplexy. Hypothalamic dysfunction may explain not only the impaired circadian rhythm disorders in children with profound mental retardation but also excessive sleepiness and hyperphagia in Prader-Willi and Kleine-Levin syndromes. Intellectually challenged children perform better, learn more, and are better behaved with sufficient restorative sleep.

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