Condition may Hold Clues to Sleep Apnea, SIDS
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A rare disorder affecting only about
250 children in the United States may eventually help
researchers learn more about sleep-related breathing disorders
like sleep apnea and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Using a new type of MRI that can look deeper
into brain tissue than standard MRIs, researchers from
UCLA identified brain regions impacted by congenital central
hypoventilation syndrome, or CCHS. Children with CCHS
don't automatically breathe on their own. Instead, they
often have to be reminded to breath. Most require mechanical
ventilation at night. They also have problems with other
bodily functions that come naturally to healthy people,
like urination and heart function.
The UCLA study used the new type of MRI
to conduct brain scans on 12 children with CCHS and 28
healthy children who were similar in age and sex. The
results showed the CCHS children had significant brain
damage in areas of the brain associated with automatic
functions like breathing, heart rate, blood pressure,
pain, cardiovascular function, urination, thirst, body
temperature, and sleep.
The investigators plan to use the findings
to help develop new treatments for the condition, such
as injecting nerve growth factors into injured areas to
help patients regain some of the lost functioning. They
also believe they'll learn a lot about more common conditions
like SIDS and sleep apnea along the way.
"For a breathing researcher, this syndrome
represents a rare opportunity from Mother Nature,"
says study author Ronald Harper, Ph.D. "By using
CCHS as a model to study how the brain controls breathing,
we hope not only to help children born with the disease
but also provide insights into SIDS and sleep apnea."
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SOURCE: Journal of Comparative Neurology,
Original source: http://www.ivanhoe.com