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Sleep Deprivation & Attention Disorders

An article in The Guardian newspaper recently outlined the growing concern that a proportion of children diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder ( ADHD) may actually be suffering from sleep deprivation.

Apparently, a recent study has shown that reducing children's sleep from 10 to 9 hours a night had a marked effect on working memory and verbal task ability, in addition to making children irritable and 'oppositional'.  Stephen Sheldon, Director of the Sleep Medicine Centre at Chicago's Chidren's Memorial Hospital reckons that as many as 30% of children have been wrongly diagnosed.  However, many doctors believe that disordered sleep is a consequence of ADHD, not a cause of it.

The association between sleep and attention disorders is strong but which is the cause and which is the effect remains unclear.

( Source: The Guardian July 2005 )


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