- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Snoring runs in the family, a new study by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has found.

The study, published in the April issue of the medical journal Chest, determined that children with at least one parent who snores more than three times weekly are three times more likely to snore themselves than children whose parents snore infrequently or not at all.

“We found that 15 percent of these children snored three or more times weekly, which is a high prevalence. That prevalence equates with that of older children and adults who are frequent snorers, and family history is a risk factor,” said Dr. Maninder Kalra, a specialist in pulmonary medicine at Cincinnati Children’s and lead author of the study.

He said this was one of the first large studies to examine snoring prevalence in children so young. It focused on a population of nearly 700 children, whose average age was 1 year.

What’s more, the report in Chest shows that year-old children who test positive for an allergic condition known as atopy, involving allergies to foods, as well as airborne allergies to substances such as pollen, pet dander and insect venoms, are twice as likely to snore as children who do not have atopy.

“So atopy is another risk factor,” Dr. Kalra said.

The researchers make it clear that snoring is not merely an annoying habit.

Instead, Dr. Kalra and research colleagues say, “snoring is the most common symptom” of a condition known as “childhood obstructive sleep-disordered breathing (SDB).” They explain that SDB is a “disorder characterized by prolonged increased upper airway resistance, partial upper airway obstruction, or complete obstruction” that disrupts breathing, oxygenation, or sleep quality.

“Childhood obstructive SDB is associated with daytime behavioral problems, cognitive deficits and cardiovascular and metabolic difficulties,” the authors write.

Because of that, they say, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for obstructive SDB. Because of the risks associated with snoring, anyone who snores a lot — no matter what the age — should be tested for SDB, Dr. Kalra said.

Of the 681 children whose sleeping patterns were examined in the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital study, 54 percent never snored. In contrast, 10 percent snored five to seven nights per week, while 5 percent snored three or four times a week.

Dr. Kalra said the study found a higher prevalence of frequent snoring among black children than in other racial or ethnic groups. In fact, about a third of the 118 black children included in the research qualified as “habitual snorers,” meaning they snored more than three times per week, the report said. Overall, fewer than 12 percent of children were habitual snorers.

“We don’t understand the exact reason” that blacks snore disproportionately, Dr. Kalra said.

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