Does your baby snore like dad?


Babies and infants who snore are widely under diagnosed, according to Australian researchers investigating sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome (SAHS) in infants.

A study conducted by engineering researchers at Western Sydney and Sydney universities has investigated two minimally invasive sensors as an early detection method of SAHS – a  respiratory condition experts estimate can affect up to 4 percent of infants.

Sleep-related breathing disorders in infants have been linked to negative developmental effects such as cognitive impairment, depression, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to Gregory Cohen from UWS, and Philip de Chazal at the University of Sydney.

The pairs' study results showing it is possible to detect apnoea events using two minimally invasive sensors, electrocardiogram (ECG) and pulse oximetry, has been published in the online journal Computers in Biology and Medicine (opens in a new window).

"While it is possible to perform overnight polysomnograms on infants, the intrusive nature of the multitude of sensors limits the practicality and effectiveness of the technology and can lead to lower quality results," Professor de Chazal explained.

"There is a clear need for the development of a less invasive, lower cost means for the detection and diagnosis of apnea events using easily accessible and low-cost sensors."

His co-investigator Gregory Cohen, PhD candidate at UWS, says the research forms an important step in demonstrating the potential for such low-cost and minimally invasive diagnostic systems.

"However there is still work to be done to bring the performance of the system to a clinically acceptable accuracy," says Mr Cohen.

"Further research using data acquired with higher-resolution sensors will be instrumental in boosting the reliability and the diagnostic power of such a system." 

Cohen and de Chazal studied an existing dataset of 396 scored overnight polysomnography recordings from the international CHIME study. 

The dataset contained data from healthy infants, infants diagnosed with sleep apnea, infants with siblings who had died from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and pre-term infants.

Australian's national Sleep awareness week is 6 -12 July.


25 June 2015

Mark Smith, UWS Senior Media Officer

Victoria Hollick, University of Sydney Media Advisor

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