Focus area: Physicians
Association between mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome and cognitive dysfunction in children
Mild-moderate obstructive apnoea-hypopnea syndrome may negatively affect the cognitive function, particularly in young children (< 6 years). This study highlights the need to increase awareness of the correlation between cognitive dysfunction and OSA and advocate early interventions in childhood OSAHS.
Some studies have highlighted that untreated OSA determines long-term complications in pediatric age, such as endocrine disruptions and cognitive impairment. The association between cognitive impairment and infantile OSA has become an important research goal in the last years. This study compared 59 children with mild-moderate OSAS with 60 healthy children, splitting both groups into two age-related subgroups (< 6 years and > 6 years). Age-related specific scales have been adopted for the evaluation of cognitive ability. Compared to the different cognitive areas investigated, children with less than six years have significantly lower scores than healthy age-matched controls in relation to the overall IQ, visualization capacity and understanding capacity. However, such data did not show any correlation with AHI and minimal SpO2. Instead, a statistically significant correlation between time with SpO2 < 90% and cognitive ability in the scope of non-verbal capabilities (PIQ-Performance Intelligence Quotient) was highlighted. The results of the study suggest that mild-moderate OSA may negatively affect the development of cognitive intelligence and function, particularly in young children (< 6 years). The screening and evaluation of children with suggestive symptoms of OSA is crucial in order to exclude their presence and to undertake any corrective interventions as early as possible.
Ref: Zhao J, Han S, Zhang J, et al. Association between mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome and cognitive dysfunction in children. Sleep Med. 2018 Oct;50:132-136.