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Sleepless Nights May Hurt School Performance of Kids With Asthma
Date:5/21/2013

TUESDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- Urban elementary school children with poorly controlled asthma are likely to experience sleep problems and suffer academically, new research indicates.

"In our sample of urban schoolchildren, aged seven to nine, we found that compromised lung function corresponded with both poor sleep efficiency and impaired academic performance," said study author Daphne Koinis-Mitchell, an associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University's Alpert Medical School in Providence, R.I.

Koinis-Mitchell, who is also an associate professor of pediatrics, is scheduled to present her findings Tuesday at the American Thoracic Society annual meeting in Philadelphia.

The findings stem from an analysis involving 170 pairs of white, black and Hispanic children and their fathers living in the Providence area.

The children's asthma symptoms were monitored over three-month periods, and the children and their parents were asked to keep a health diary as well.

Questionnaires were also completed to gauge the degree to which asthmatic symptoms were kept under control. Sleep quality was also monitored and quantified.

The result: Children with poorly controlled asthma fared worse at school, according to their teachers. "Carelessness" regarding school work was also linked to poorer sleep, as was difficulty in staying awake while in class.

"Urban and ethnic minority children are at an increased risk for high levels of asthma morbidity and frequent health care utilization due to asthma. Given the high level of asthma burden in these groups, and the effects that urban poverty can have on the home environments and the neighborhoods of urban families, it is important to identify modifiable targets for intervention," Koinis-Mitchell said in a news release from the thoracic society.

Efforts aimed at improving asthma control and sleep quality may help to boost academic performan
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