Frequency of snoring, rather than apnea-hypopnea index, predicts both cognitive and behavioral problems in young children.
Sleep Med. 2017 Jun ;34:170-178. Epub 2017 Mar 25. PMID: 28522088
Dale L Smith
OBJECTIVE: Primary snoring (PS) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) not only affect the quality of sleep in a large number of young children, but have also been repeatedly associated with a variety of behavioral and cognitive problems. However, little is known about the potentially differing relationships of behavioral and cognitive pathology within the sleep disordered breathing (SDB) spectrum.
METHOD: This study examined data from an enriched for snoring community sample of 631 children aged between 4 and 10 years. Multivariate mixed models were used to assess the relationship between both snoring and the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI). Numerous cognitive and behavioral variables were used, while adjusting for several important demographic variables. These were followed by univariate analyses of individual measures and sensitivity analyses.
RESULTS: Results indicated that snoring status is a significant predictor of general behavioral (p = 0.008) and cognitive (p = 0.013) domains, even after adjusting for baseline covariates and AHI severity. More frequent snoring was associated with poorer outcomes independent of AHI. However, AHI did not emerge as a significant predictor of the overall cognitive functioning domain (p = 0.377). Additionally, although AHI was a significant predictor of the general behavioral functioning domain (p = 0.008), the significance pattern and nature of its relationship with individual behavioral measures were inconsistent in post-hoc analyses.
CONCLUSION: The findings of this study suggest that general behavioral and cognitive function may decline with greater snoring severity. Further, snoring should not simply be assumed to represent a lower severity level of SDB, but should be examined as a potential predictor of relevant outcomes.