Relationships among obstructive sleep apnea, anthropometric measures, and neurocognitive functioning in adolescents with severe obesity

Tamara S Hannon, Dana L Rofey, Christopher M Ryan, Denise A Clapper, Sangeeta Chakravorty, Silva A Arslanian
Journal of Pediatrics 2012, 160 (5): 732-5

OBJECTIVE: To explore associations between measures of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and sleep quality, anthropometrics, and neurocognitive functioning in severely obese adolescents.

STUDY DESIGN: This was a cross-sectional pilot study performed at an academic medical center in 37 severely obese (body mass index [BMI] >97th percentile) adolescents. Study evaluations included polysomnography, BMI, waist circumference, and standardized neurocognitive tests to assess memory, executive functioning, psychomotor efficiency, academic achievement, and an approximation of full-scale IQ. Outcome data were evaluated categorically, based on clinical criteria for the diagnosis of OSA, and continuously to quantify associations between sleep parameters, anthropometrics, and neurocognitive test results.

RESULTS: Sleep fragmentation and poorer sleep quality were associated with reduced psychomotor efficiency, poorer memory recall, and lower scores on standardized academic tests. Having evidence of OSA was associated with lower math scores, but not with other neurocognitive measures. BMI and waist circumference were negatively associated with oxygen saturation.

CONCLUSION: Our pilot study findings suggest that sleep fragmentation and poorer sleep quality have implications for neurocognitive functioning in obese adolescents. The epidemic of childhood obesity has dire implications, not only for increasing cardiometabolic pathology, but also for possibly promoting less readily apparent neurologic alterations associated with poor sleep quality.

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