A growth spurt in pediatric sleep research
Derek J Lam,1 Steven A Shea2
1Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, 2Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, USA
The awareness and understanding of the spectrum of pediatric sleep disorders has increased significantly in the last 20 years. While parents have always struggled with snoring children or behavioral difficulties around bedtime, only recently have parents and clinicians become aware of the potential long-term negative consequences of leaving these problems unaddressed. The diagnosis and management of pediatric sleep disorders can be uniquely challenging because of difficulties in assessing both the burden of disease and its downstream effects in the very young who are unable to clearly articulate their sleep-related experiences or relevant outcomes. Investigations in this age-group frequently require proxy parental assessments of sleep habits and outcomes or other innovative alternative methods of subjective assessment combined with objective measures that must be customized to the pediatric population. The impact of untreated sleep disorders during critical periods of early development on later cognition, behavior, and quality of life is potentially significant and far-reaching. This lends urgency to the need for more thorough and systematic investigation across the spectrum of pediatric sleep disorders.
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