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Minerva Pediatrica 2011 April;63(2):99-104


language: English

Primary nocturnal enuresis and learning disability

Esposito M. 1, Carotenuto M. 1, Roccella M. 2

1 Department of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry, Center for Sleep disorders in childhood, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy; 2 Department of Psychology, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy


AIM: Primary nocturnal enuresis (PNE) is the most common sleep disorder in developmental age, with a prevalence of 6-10% between 5 and 16 years of age, impacting on normal emotional and relational developing. Assessing the prevalence of mild learning disorders in enuretic children and the role of enuresis as risk factor to develop them.
METHODS: Twenty-five patients (14 males) aged 7.59 referred for primary nocturnal enuresis to Sleep Disorder Center for developmental age and Nocturnal Enuresis of Second University of Naples (frequency ≥3/week), were enrolled in study. Reading abilities were evaluated using MT (Memory and Learning Transfer) and cognitive performance was assessed using Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised version to excluded the subjects with IQ≤75. The control group consisted in 54 children (23 males) matched for age and sex distribution recruited in Campania region schools. Chi Square test was used to verify the different prevalence of academic problems in group of bedwetters and healthy controls. The P level was set at <0.05 for statistical significance. A logistic regression analysis was performed in order to assess the risk of developing learning disabilities by being enuretic.
RESULTS: Learning difficulties were present in 18 enuretic and in 7 healthy children (χ2 24.873; P<0.001). χ2 test showed a statistic relevant difference in prevalence of “Attention request” (χ2 20.058; P<0.001) and “Border-line level” (χ2 12.979, P<0.001) identified in mild reading learning disorders in bedwetters respect of control group. Logistic regression analysis showed a strong increase to have mild academic impairment due to be a enuretic with an odd ratio (OR) of 17.26 (CI95% 5.30-56.19).
CONCLUSION: Our study shows the higher pre-valence of mild reading difficulties in enuretic children than controls.

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