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Neuro/Endothelial Effects of Sleep Apnea Coexist in Children

Last Updated: October 21, 2010.

Cognitive dysfunction and endothelial dysfunction usually coexist in children with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, raising the possibility of using the simple measurement of microvascular postischemic reperfusion of the forearm as a screen for cognitive defects as well, according to research published online Oct. 18 in Pediatrics.

THURSDAY, Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Cognitive dysfunction and endothelial dysfunction usually coexist in children with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), raising the possibility of using the simple measurement of microvascular postischemic reperfusion of the forearm as a screen for cognitive defects as well, according to research published online Oct. 18 in Pediatrics.

David Gozal, M.D., of the University of Chicago, and colleagues conducted a study of 87 children with polysomnographically-diagnosed OSAS and 21 controls to determine if neurocognitive and endothelial dysfunction, both associated individually with OSAS, occur concurrently and are the result of the same underlying pathophysiological processes. Endothelial dysfunction was defined as a time to maximal postocclusive hyperemic response of 45 seconds or more, and cognitive testing was done with two cognitive battery assessments.

The researchers found that about one-third of children with OSAS had normal endothelial and cognitive findings. Abnormal cognitive test scores were found in 48 children; 50 had endothelial dysfunction, and at least 80 percent of these children had both findings.

"It is possible that the simpler measurement of microvascular postischemic reperfusion responses may not only serve as an accurate correlate to the presence of neurocognitive deficits but may also provide valuable insights into the vascular pathophysiological mechanisms that are potentially involved in the memory and learning problems and reduced academic performances frequently observed in children with OSAS," the authors conclude.

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