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Studying pediatric sleep disorders an "integral part" of the future of sleep medicine

kid_sleepingAs the new mom of a four-month old, I've become obsessed with infants and children's sleep habits. So I was interested to read a recent entry on the Stanford Sleep Center’s blog about how studying children's sleep disorders can further discoveries in the field for patients both big and small.

In the entry, sleep specialist Rafael Pelayo, MD, recounts Stanford's historic role in the development of sleep medicine and notes that "infants and small children were even an early part of [research conducted by legendary Stanford sleep researcher William Dement, MD, PhD,] into rapid eye movement (REM) sleep."  He also notes that "children were among the first patients seen" at the burgeoning clinic now known as the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine.

Looking toward the future, he writes:

In 2009, the historic clinic previously situated on Quarry Road near Stanford's main campus was relocated to a state-of-the-art 14 bedroom facility at the Stanford outpatient campus in Redwood City. Thousands of patients are seen every year for diagnosis and management of sleep disorders, of which approximately 25 percent are children. This speaks to the future of sleep medicine: recognizing these conditions in childhood so that interventions can change development, affecting everything from growth to behavior. It is a significant need and one that deserves wider attention on a national and international basis.

Decades ago the synergy of neuroscience and psychiatry was essential in establishing this new field. The study of normal sleep and sleep disorders in children is an especially integral part of the development of the future of modern sleep medicine.

Previously: Stanford study sheds light on narcolepsy, “will shape the next decade of research” into the disease, Expert argues that for athletes, “sleep could mean the difference between winning and losing”, BBC study: Oh, what a difference an hour of sleep makes and Ask Stanford Med: Rafael Pelayo answers questions on sleep research and offers tips for ‘springing forward’
Photo by tamakisono

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