Stories about: Sanjeev Kothare

Sweet dreams

“We couldn’t consider it from a more favorable perspective.”

That’s how Kathy and Michael Cunningham describe their feelings about polysomnography (sleep study), now that their 5-year-old son, Elijah, has recently undergone the procedure at the  Boston Children’s Hospital Sleep Laboratories. The praise is even more compelling when you consider the source: Elijah’s dad is Michael J. Cunningham, MD, FACS, Boston Children’s otolaryngologist-in-chief.

In addition to talking in his sleep, Elijah had been waking repeatedly throughout the night—a potential symptom of what is called a “non-REM parasomnia” (sleep disruption that occurs outside of the deep, rapid-eye-movement stage of sleep), possibly related to obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). After an initial examination, Cunningham’s colleague in Otolaryngology, Mark S. Volk, MD, DMD, FACS, referred Elijah to see Sanjeev Kothare, MD, interim medical director of Children’s Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders. Kothare agreed that Elijah’s sleep pattern was unusual, and recommended a sleep study to determine whether there was any underlying OSAS that would make a tonsillectomy necessary.

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Behavioral issues in children could be linked to snoring

If you’ve ever lived with a person who snores, you know the noise can be enough to keep you up at night. It’s an annoyance for sure, but new research shows that when young children snore it could lead to more serious behavioral and emotional problems.

A new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, shows that young children who have sleep-disordered breathing (snoring or other breathing issues during sleep) could be more likely to develop conditions like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or anxiety by the time they’re seven years old. The study followed 13,000 children, from infancy to the age of 7, and found that those who snored or had some form of breathing problem while asleep were far more likely to develop behavioral or emotion problems than children who had no breathing issues while asleep.

So how are the two related? The answer is going to be different for each child, but it often comes down to how a child’s nighttime breathing affects his rest.

“When you have sleep-disordered breathing, you wake up momentarily when your breathing drops,” says Sanjeev Kothare, MD, interim medical director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children’s Hospital Boston. “So if a child is waking up 50 times a night he’s not getting the proper amount of rest, and that could manifest itself in hyperactivity or other behavioral problems.”

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Why have kids’ sleep recommendations changed over the years?

There’s a general consensus among the medical community that many young people aren’t getting enough sleep these days. And with high tech distractions like TV, video games and the Internet competing for their late night attention, it’s no wonder that today’s children aren’t getting as much rest as they should.

But is there really such a thing as the perfect amount of sleep for young people? And is this current lack of sleep really a new problem, the byproduct of our kids’ fascination with Xbox, Facebook and the like? According to a new study in the journal Pediatrics, the answer is no on all accounts.

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Sleep deprivation in teens: risky business?

Like toothpaste and orange juice, teenagers and 6 a.m. usually make for a bad morning combination. Between the threats of missed buses to the walking dead shuffle from the bedroom to the bathroom, mornings can seem like a nightmare for many households with teens. But with so many sleep-deprived teenagers staying awake until all hours of the night, this dreaded morning ritual comes as no surprise to most parents.

If your teenager is constantly staying up too late and is hard to mobilize in the morning, at least you’re not alone. A new study from the Centers for Disease Control indicates that two third of American teens aren’t getting enough sleep. This may not surprise many parents, but the study’s real take home message is that researchers are now linking sleep deprivation to something far more troubling than morning crankiness: Teens who get less than eight hours of sleep a night may be more likely to drink, use drugs, indulge in inappropriate sexual behavior, be depressed and lead an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle.

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