Sleep Disorders Can Impair Children's IQs As Much As Lead Exposure
: "Three decades ago, medical investigators began sounding the alarm about how lead exposure causes IQ deficits in children. Today, researchers at the University of Virginia Health System say children with sleep disorders can face similar risks of intellectual impairment.
UVa researchers have been studying sleep disturbances in children with enlarged tonsils and adenoids for the past seven years. In a recent study, they discovered that youngsters who snore nightly scored significantly lower on vocabulary tests than those who snore less often.
'Vocabulary scores are known to be the best single predictor of a child's IQ and the strongest predictor of academic success,' explains Dr. Paul M. Suratt, a pulmonologist who directs the UVa Sleep Laboratory.
According to Dr. Suratt, the vocabulary differences associated with nightly snoring are equivalent to the IQ dissimilarities attributed to lead exposure. 'Studies show that, even at nontoxic levels, lead exposure can reduce a child's IQ by more than seven points,' he notes."