The Relation between Sleep, Memory Enhancement, Causes of Emotional Deficiency among ADHD Patients – Research Paper Example

The paper “The Relation between Sleep, Memory Enhancement, Causes of Emotional Deficiency among ADHD Patients" is a convincing example of research paper on psychology. One of the most common psychiatric problems among children is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Its prevalence is estimated to be between 2%-18% (Rowland et al,2002). The disorder is accompanied by lack of attention, hyperactivity and emotional problems combined with a learning disorder and behavioral problems as well. Several studies have shown a link between sleep and emotional memory.

Sleep Electroencephalogram studies done with the help of a Polysomnographic recording system (PSG) helps in recording frontal limbic activity. Both Short Wave sleep (SWS) and Rapid eye movement sleep (REM) decreased from childhood to adults. In comparison to ADHD individuals, sleep (especially SWS) helps in enhancing emotional memory among normal children and adults. ADHD patients suffer from sleep problems which affect their emotional memory consolidation and leads to deviant behavior in wake condition. The present study was conducted to study the effect of sleep on emotional memory and it was established that among ADHD children sleep did not enhance memory consolidation 

Hypothesis
This study investigated the effect of sleep on emotional memory consolidation among children with ADHD and normal children. The researchers hypothesized that normal healthy children benefitted from sleep since their frontal limbic system activity was enhanced but ADHD children were not benefitted from sleep (Prehn-Kristensen et al, 2013).

Methodology
The research methodology was observational and was conducted in Germany. The participants in the study comprised of 16 children suffering from ADHD, 16 healthy children, and 20 healthy adults. ADHD patients were referred to the study from the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry of the University of Kiel and since ADHD is more prevalent among the males than females, only male children were included in the study. The age of the children of both groups was between 9-12 years and that of the adults were 20-28 years. Self-reports and parental reports were used to confirm participation. DSM-IV was used to decide the eligibility of ADHD patients for the study. None of the participants suffered from sleeping disorders however ADHD children suffered from restlessness during sleep. None of the healthy participants were diagnosed with any kind of psychological or psychiatric problem.

Research design
Two conditions i.e. sleep condition and wake conditions were tested for each individual in their respective home settings. The learning and baseline tests were conducted in the morning while target evaluation was done in the evening in the wake condition. In the sleep condition, learning and baseline tests were done just before sleep and target recognition was done after a night’s sleep.

The emotional memory task was conducted in the learning session where participants had to rate the emotional arousal when showed pictures. Immediately after this, a retrieval was done to determine the baseline by showing a mixture of old and new pictures and recording the responses of the individual’s memory of having seen the picture in the previous session. Before each session was started the participant’s emotional state and alertness was tested.

During the night session, firstly all participants were familiarized with the PSG and in the experimental night's data such as time in bed, stages of sleep etc were recorded. EEG and electrooculogram were recorded using an 8-Channel Sonomedics PSG. The oscillatory activity of frontal was done using electrodes placed on the skin.

Results
Statistical methods were sued to analyze the results. ANOVA was used to compare PSG data and picture rating. The results revealed that emotional bias associated with sleep was higher in normal children than with those with ADHD. The PSG data revealed that sleep parameters did not differ significantly between the children groups. In terms of alertness, it was seen that ADHD children had prolonged reaction time while adults showed the least reaction time.

Correlational analysis was conducted to test for the hypothesis and the researchers found that sleep-associated emotional bias was positively correlated to SO power and delta power of slow-wave sleep and theta oscillation of REM sleep in normal children and adults. However, in ADHD patients it was negatively correlated.

Discussion
The results showed that in ADHD children EEF frontal activity during sleep was negatively related to emotional memory thereby proving that sleep did not enhance memory in ADHD children. The only limitation during the experiment was technical since some data could not be recorded owing to the loss of contact of electrodes from the skin during the nocturnal activity of participants in the sleep condition.

Conclusion
The results obtained through this experimental observation would help in understanding the causes of emotional deficiency among ADHD patients. Our text material suggested a relation between sleep and memory enhancement. This study helped in understanding the association between REM and retention of emotional memory. Even though the main focus of the study was primarily ADHD patients, however, it also helped me understand that spending sleepless nights or keeping awake all night would be detrimental to both emotional as well as other forms of memory.

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