January 14, 2010

A Simple Urine Test for Dangerous Snoring

Approximately 12 percent of all children snore. In a recent study, 90 children who were previously referred to a clinic for assessment in their breathing problems during slumber were observed and tested. The children who were eventually diagnosed with dangerous snoring had increased amounts of specific proteins in their urine. Although the research team who conducted the study thinks it would be more accurate if the study were repeated, diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea may lead to a simple test.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA is caused by obstruction of the airway. Apnea literally means “without breath”, which is what happens during sleep, for those who suffer from the illness. Apneas are short occurrences during sleep when at least one breath is missed. This happens various times during the night. With OSA, the breathing is being blocked by a physical obstruction to the airflow. The sufferer of OSA rarely realizes they have any episodes of apnea, even when waking during an episode. Normally sleep apnea is discovered by others who witness the sufferer during episodes of apnea. OSA can lead to mental, cardiovascular, metabolic and behavioral problems in children. OSA is most common for children who are obese, or have larger than normal tonsils.

After the first night of the study, researchers collected a urine sample and used florescent dyes to distinguish and separate the proteins in the urine. Children who had OSA had 3 proteins with a higher concentration than children who did not have OSA. All the children diagnosed with OSA had a lower than usual level of another protein, kallikrien 1.

Although more research is needed to perfect the study, it is likely possible to develop a simple and reliable test (similar to a pregnancy test) to diagnose children with OSA.

January 4, 2010

Lack of Sleep in Teens Could Lead to Depression

Dark and Lonely Teenager
There’s no denying that each and every one of us need proper amounts of sleep to function properly every day, but not all of us get the necessary amount of sleep every night and this is particularly true among teenagers.

Teenagers experience a change in their internal clocks and this tends to cause them to go to bed at later hours and wake up later as well. However because of school in the morning most students find that they do not get enough sleep and often feel tired throughout the day. Some high schools have adjusted to this and set their start times later to allow students to sleep longer in the mornings. However, those students that must wake up early need to be aware that getting little sleep can result in more than just a cranky attitude.

Along with a nasty attitude throughout the day, inadequate sleep can result in many harmful effects. Some things caused by lack of sleep are impaired memory and physical performance, increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, problems with insomnia, impairment to the ability to stay alert, inability to stay focused, troubles solving problems, difficulty retaining information, and a lack of ability to deal with stress. Additionally, teenagers who find they’re lacking sleep on a consistent basis are more at risk for fall-asleep car accident, tobacco and alcohol use, poor impulse control and violence, and lower performance in academics and athletics. Now, a new study has found that teens that lack sleep are much more likely to suffer from depression and have thoughts of suicide.

Generally, teens require about 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep every night, but most are getting less than 7 hours. These teens need to try to go to bed a little earlier to give their bodies some much needed rest. The lower the amount of sleep a teen gets results in a higher risk of depression and other very harmful effects. If you are a parent try anything you can to get your child to bed at an appropriate time. This doesn’t have to mean sending them to bed before 8 at night, but try getting them to sleep at maybe 10 or 11 at the latest. Teens really need the extra sleep and without it they will definitely know something is wrong, even if they never admit it.


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