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Parasomnias are Common in Children: Study

According to a study published in the February 1st issue of the journal SLEEP, Parasomnias in children are common, and often more frequent than in adults.//

The study suggested that it is important for parents to take an active approach in helping their child overcome a sleep disorder, to consult with their child’s pediatrician, and for an office evaluation of a child with any Parasomnias to be thorough.

Thornton B.A. Mason II, MD, PhD, of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Allan I. Pack, MBChB, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania, advise pediatricians to question the parents regarding what events typically occur, how soon after sleep onset these events are noted, and whether episodes take place during naps as well as at night. Parents should, in turn, describe in detail the movements and behaviors that are typically seen, said Mason and Pack.

In addition, the authors noted, to complement the parents’ descriptions, home videos often prove very useful for identifying and classifying parasomnias. A detailed history may also be supported through the completion of sleep diaries, in which parents record sleep periods, arousals/awakenings and parasomnia events, added Mason and Pack.

"The sleep history should be accompanied by a comprehensive physical and neurological exam, to look for features that would be associated with an underlying sleep disruptor: for obstructive sleep apnea, features such as adenotonsillar hypertrophy, retrognathia, and mid-face hypoplasia; for periodic lib movements in sleep, features such as peripheral neuropathy or myelopathy," the authors wrote.

According to Mason and Pack, clinicians should be aware that many pediatric parasomnias are benign, self-limited and may not persist into late childhood or adolescence.

The bottom line, said the authors, is that the parents need to monitor their child’s sleep patterns and, if a problem persists, consult with the child’s pediatri
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