Study describes Relationship between Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Cognitive Outcomes

Disrupted sleep is commonly observed throughout the lifespan of individuals with Down syndrome, with an observed incidence of 50-100%. Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome(OSAS) has been demonstrated in studies to be a key contributor to the loss of sleep quality in Down syndrome. OSAS increases with age.

The relation of OSAS to cognitive and behavioral impairment remains poorly understood. This study, supported in part by a Research Down Syndrome grant, describes cognitive outcomes in children with or without OSAS, ages 7-12. The study assessed cognitive outcomes with the Arizona Cognitive Test Battery, a set of psychometric measures that was designed and validated for this group.

The findings demonstrated a relation between OSAS and cognitive outcomes in Down syndrome. Among children with Down syndrome, mean Verbal IQ score was 9 points lower in those with OSAS than in those without OSAS. Performance on measures of cognitive flexibility was poorer, as well. 

The paper, published in Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, may be found here.

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