Sleep conditions including sleep apnoea may be diagnosable from a simple urine test, according to the initial results of a Chicago-based trial. Ninety children who had been referred to a specialist sleep clinic for breathing problems were tested in the study, along with thirty controls. It was found that protein levels in urine were markedly different in those children with potentially dangerous conditions, compared to those who were healthy. Sufferers of sleep apnoea had higher levels of the proteins urocortin 3, orosomucoid and uromodulin, and lower levels of kallikrein 1. It is hoped that the trial can be developed to increase reliability and improve the current testing process.
Sleep apnoea, in children and adults, is a respiratory condition characterised by pauses in breathing during sleep. The condition can lead to cardiovascular and metabolic problems in children, as well as behavioural issues.
“It was rather unexpected that the urine would provide us with the ability to identify OSA (obstructive sleep apnoea). If we can develop this further we might be able to screen children for OSA for a fraction of the cost of keeping them in a sleep clinic overnight, and it would overcome the huge waiting lists for such screening,” said research leader Dr David Gozal at the University of Chicago.
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