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Dev Neuropsychol. 2009;34(5):615-28. doi: 10.1080/87565640903133608.

Sleep-disordered breathing affects auditory processing in 5-7-year-old children: evidence from brain recordings.

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Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development and Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.


Poor sleep in children is associated with lower neurocognitive functioning and increased maladaptive behaviors. The current study examined the impact of snoring (the most common manifestation of sleep-disordered breathing) on cognitive and brain functioning in a sample of 35 asymptomatic children ages 5-7 years identified in the community as having habitual snoring (SDB). All participants completed polysomnographic, neurocognitive (NEPSY), and psychophysiological (event-related potentials [ERPs] to speech sounds) assessments. The results indicated that sub-clinical levels of SDB may not necessarily lead to reduced performance on standardized behavioral measures of attention and memory. However, brain indices of speech perception and discrimination (N1/P2) are sensitive to individual differences in the quality of sleep. We postulate that addition of ERPs to the standard clinical measures of sleep problems could lead to early identification of children who may be more cognitively vulnerable because of chronic sleep disturbances.

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