History of pediatric sleep and the contribution of sleep microstructure

Keynote Speaker:
Oliviero Bruni, MD

Abstract Summary:
The aim of this presentation is to depict the discovery of sleep physiology and pathology in infants and the emergence of the discipline of Pediatric Sleep Medicine as a relatively autonomous entity. The gradual awareness regarding sleep disorders in infants and children began in the 19th century; children sleep had been neglected until the end of the last century with the main textbook of Pediatrics reporting none or only few paragraphs devoted to pediatric sleep, although the first observation that lead to the discovery of REM sleep was made on neonates and infants, as well as the first study on the negative behavioral consequences of sleep apnea was run in children. Researchers from different countries made important contributions for the development of the pediatric sleep medicine and actually different health providers (pediatric pulmonologists, otolaryngologists, neurologists, orthodontists and psychologists) recognize the fundamental role of sleep for the child health and development. In the last few decades, the analysis of sleep microstructure and of cyclic alternating pattern (CAP) allowed a better understanding of the neurophysiological mechanisms of sleep disturbance, especially in children. CAP can be considered as a window on pediatric sleep, allowing a new vision on how the sleeping brain is influenced by a specific pathology or how sleep protecting mechanisms try to counteract internal or external disturbing events.

Oliviero Bruni received his M.D. in 1982 and Child Neuropsychiatry residency in 1986 from “La Sapienza” University of Rome (Italy). He is currently Associate Professor in Child Neurology and Psychiatry in the Dept. of Developmental and Social Psychology, Sapienza University, Rome. He has been involved in sleep research and clinical care in children for over 25 years and has published over 150 peer-reviewed scientific papers .in addition to several monographs and book chapters. He is founder and Past-President of the International Pediatric Sleep Association, member of the Board of Directors of the Italian Association of Sleep Medicine, Field Editor (Pediatrics) of the journal Sleep Medicine and was elected as Chair of the Childhood Sleep Disorders and Development Section of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).
His specific areas of interest are the different aspects of sleep disorders in children, the analysis of sleep microstructure, the application of computer analysis in human sleep electroencephalogram, the investigation of sleep patterns in cognitive deficits ranging from mental retardation to specific learning disabilities. He organized and was involved as Faculty member in several International Congresses. He is currently participating in the Scientific Committees of the AASM; European Sleep Research Society and World Association of Sleep Medicine and participated as invited lecturer in several international congresses.