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Thursday, 8 March 2001

Looking at the Link between Sleep Disorders and ADD / ADHD in Children

Researchers at the Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick are testing children with attention, learning and behavioural problems for sleeping disorders.

Specialist Paediatrician, Dr Arthur Teng together with Clinical Psychologist, Dr Grant Betts are looking at how sleep disorders may fragment sleep, and cause symptoms during the day not unlike those seen in children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

Dr Teng and Dr Betts hope to establish how a child's behavioural and learning difficulties might be improved once sleep disorders are treated.

'It's important that a child's sleeping habits are not overlooked when diagnosing and treating a child for behavioural, learning and attentional problems', Dr Teng said.

'Problems such as sleep apnoea, where there is snoring and pauses in breathing overnight, can have a very big impact on a child's behaviour, learning ability and attention during the day', Dr Teng noted.

The Sleep Clinic at the Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick is testing 50 children as part of the study, using sleep studies and psychometric assessments (ie: memory and attention tests). These tests, 18 of which have been carried out, are executed both before and after treatment.

'ADD and ADHD are very real problems in some children, and are increasingly diagnosed in children and treated with controversy', Dr Betts said.

'We want to be sure that co-existing medical illnesses, notably sleep disorders that can be readily treated, are also accounted for', Dr Betts added.

For Further Information Contact:

Danielle Huck, Public Affairs Tel: 9382 3578 - Mob:0411 730 842

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