Snoring means trouble
Study shows snoring could be a sign of trouble in preschoolers.
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Three- to six-year-old children who snore have more symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as attention and language problems, than their age-matched counterparts who do not snore, Finnish researchers report.

"Our study brings out snoring as a possible risk factor for mood problems and cognitive impairment in preschool-aged children," Dr. Eeva T. Aronen, of Helsinki University Central Hospital said.

Among 43 preschoolers who snored at least once or twice a week, according to their parents, and 46 preschoolers who did not snore, Aronen's team found a higher rate of mood problems, especially symptoms of anxiety and depression, among the snorers.

"Overall, 22% of snoring children had mood disorder symptoms severe enough to warrant clinical evaluation, compared to 11% of the children who did not snore," Aronen said.

"Surprisingly and against our expectations, behavioral types of problems, such as aggressive and hyperactive behavior, were no more frequent among preschool-aged children who snored in this study," Aronen added.

According to a report of the study published in the in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, the snoring children were also more likely to have other sleep problems, such as nightmares, talking in their sleep, or difficulties going to bed.

Brain function tests also showed some significant differences between the snorers and non-snorers, including decreased attention and language skills among children who snored.

Snoring is a common symptom of sleep-disordered breathing, which is caused by obstruction of the upper airway during sleep. Knowing the mental health and developmental impact of sleep-disordered breathing in preschool-aged children will help pediatricians and other health care professionals recognize the underlying sleep problem, Aronen and colleagues believe. "This makes intervening possible before underachieving at school or before more difficult emotional and/or behavioral symptoms develop," they wrote in their report.

What do you think - is there a link between snoring and childhood behaviour?

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