Swollen adenoids and
tonsils are an important cause of sleep disturbances among children including
sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing
during sleep. Sufficient sleep is essential for proper functioning and behavior
during the daytime. Previous studies have revealed that sleep
apnea is related with ailments such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
. According to scientists, swollen adenoids and
tonsils block the airway and interfere with the process of breathing.
Dr. Susan Redline,
Professor of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School said, "There was a
greater improvement in sleep with the surgery, and those improvements were
likely responsible for the improvement in daytime functioning, energy levels
enrolled 464 children aged between 5 to 7 years, who were randomly assigned to
have adenotonsillectomy or "watchful waiting with supportive care."
Adenotonsillectomy is the surgical procedure to remove tonsils and adenoids.
The experts observed
that nearly half of the enrolled children were overweight or obese.
In order to assess if
their learning and memory abilities improved with surgery, the kids were
examined via a test called the Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment.
The scientists did not
notice any difference between children who were operated and those who were not
in terms of memory and attention.
improvements were observed in the behavior, executive functioning, quality of
life and sleepiness in children who were operated as compared to those children
who were in the watchful waiting group.
The researchers asked
the parents of the children participating in the study to rate how efficiently
their wards performed in their tasks, planned, got along with other kids and
whether they displayed any annoyance or mood swings or had any trouble sleeping.
further added that the final study results were confirmed by both teachers and
"There have been parents who are worried about their children snoring and
sleep apnea, and have felt nervous that if they didn't rapidly do the surgery,
they might be exposing their child to poor school performance."
She clarified that if
a parent wishes to choose a more conventional approach of observant waiting,
there is simply no need to worry as there is no threat of mental decline.
"Children who are having behavior problems, are feeling sleepy, are waking
up un-refreshed in the morning and dragging during the day are much more likely
to get a benefit from early surgery."
published the report pertaining to the effects of sleep apnea on children in
the New England Journal of Medicine
The report was also presented at the American Thoracic Society annual meeting
Dr. Sandeep Dave, an
otolaryngologist at Miami Children's Hospital said, "This is another
validation of adenotonsillectomy for the treatment of sleep apnea in
Dr. Dave added,
"We advise and recommend surgery for sleep apnea."
"I think the verdict is still out whether or not
there are changes in attention-deficit [ADHD]."