Sleep problems contribute to cognitive problems in childhood cancer survivors

May, 2011

Many survivors of childhood cancer suffer cognitive impairment in adulthood. A new study finds this is more likely for those with sleep or fatigue problems.

A study involving 1426 long-term survivors of childhood cancer (survivors of eight different childhood cancers who were treated between 1970 and 1986) has revealed cognitive impairment in over a fifth. Those who reported problems sleeping or frequent daytime sleepiness and fatigue were three to four times more likely to have attention and memory problems.

Additionally, those who were taking antidepressants were 50% more likely to report attention problems and 70% more likely to report memory problems.

The findings emphasize the need for help in sleep hygiene for this group.

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A study involving 135 adults (33-65) has found that, not only did patients with obstructive sleep apnea who were being treated with CPAP therapy outperform untreated OSA patients on an overnight picture memory task, but they outperformed controls who did not have OSA.

A study involving 163 overweight children and adolescents aged 10 to 17 has revealed that moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea was linked to both lower academic grades and behavioral concerns.

A national study involving some 8,000 children, has revealed receptive and expressive language, phonological awareness, literacy and early math abilities were all better in 4-year-old children whose parents reported having rules about what time their child goes to bed.

It’s not just a matter of quantity; quality of sleep matters too.

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