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Sao Paulo Medical Journal

Print version ISSN 1516-3180On-line version ISSN 1806-9460

Abstract

KUROISHI, Rita Cristina Sadako et al. Deficits in working memory, reading comprehension and arithmetic skills in children with mouth breathing syndrome: analytical cross-sectional study. Sao Paulo Med. J. [online]. 2015, vol.133, n.2, pp.78-83.  Epub Sep 26, 2014. ISSN 1516-3180.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1516-3180.2013.7630011.

CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVE:

Mouth breathing syndrome is very common among school-age children, and it is possibly related to learning difficulties and low academic achievement. In this study, we investigated working memory, reading comprehension and arithmetic skills in children with nasal and mouth breathing.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

Analytical cross-sectional study with control group conducted in a public university hospital.

METHODS:

42 children (mean age = 8.7 years) who had been identified as mouth breathers were compared with a control group (mean age = 8.4 years) matched for age and schooling. All the participants underwent a clinical interview, tone audiometry, otorhinolaryngological evaluation and cognitive assessment of phonological working memory (numbers and pseudowords), reading comprehension and arithmetic skills.

RESULTS:

Children with mouth breathing had poorer performance than controls, regarding reading comprehension (P = 0.006), arithmetic (P = 0.025) and working memory for pseudowords (P = 0.002), but not for numbers (P = 0.76).

CONCLUSION:

Children with mouth breathing have low academic achievement and poorer phonological working memory than controls. Teachers and healthcare professionals should be aware of the association of mouth breathing with children's physical and cognitive health.

Keywords : Mouth breathing; Memory, short-term; Cognition; Underachievement; Public health.

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