March 11, 2006

Pediatric Sleep Medicine Conference (part 1)

In the time that I have worked this field, I have spent very little time focused on the issue of sleep apnea in children. Certainly, there are many more adults with OSA than there are children and the majority of the inquiries I get come from older men and women.

Coming to this meeting, I have the opportunity to learn more about pediatric sleep medicine in general and sleep apnea in children in particular. It is also, very easy for me to lose sight of the fact that there are other sleep disorders beyond sleep apnea.

The session I attended this morning addressed the question of ADHD and sleep in children. The presentations were on the basic science (presented by Dr. Michael Decker) and clinical science (Dr. Michel Lecendreux). The most interested thing I learned was the connection between ADHD and PLMD (periodic limb movement disorder). ADHD can be treated by treating the PLMD (in some cases). A possible treatment for PLMD would be to increase the amount of iron in the blood. Imagine... for some, eating liver once a week might be enough to avoid having to take drugs to control behavior.

The conference is also an opportunity to meet physicians who are dedicated to working with children and to let them know about the American Sleep Apnea Association. I did meet a doctor who works at hospital in Washington, DC and explained that I am interested in preparing guide for parents who have children with sleep apnea. She is interested in working with on it. Hopefully, by the time the Sleep meeting in Salt Lake City comes around (in June) we will have something we can distribute to the doctors.

The first day session closed with a discussion of the possible need to establish a separate pediatric sleep medicine organization. One of the presentation was from a representative from the International Pediatric Sleep Association. The Europeans are ahead of the United States in the area pediatric sleep medicine. I had a good discussion with the representative after the meeting and there is interest in working together. Perhaps, they can translate and distribute the educational piece we develop.

Tomorrow, the focus shifts back to OSA and I will have the opportunity to participate in a working group with one of the giants in the field of sleep medicine... Christian Guilleminault.

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