Community members have opportunity to help ISU researchers determine how sleep problems in youth affect health and social behavior

POCATELLO – Idaho State University’s Maria Wong, working with the Portneuf Medical Center Sleep Clinic in Pocatello, is trying to get a more objective measure of the quality of sleep of 8- to 12-year olds to try to quantify the effects of good and poor sleep on health.

“Researchers believe that sleep problems can affect the executive functions of adolescents, which affects their problem-solving and planning abilities that may influence mood and their decisions on what activities to engage in,” said Wong, professor and director of experimental training in the ISU Department of Psychology, who is in the second year of a five-year, $1.6 million study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Southeast Idaho and regional families have the opportunity to participate in this major study. Wong is in the process of recruiting 200 study participants in the region and will examine the sleep patterns and habits of rural children through multiple measures of sleep, including self-report by participants, parental ratings and sleep assessment in clinical settings.

“We welcome families with children 8 to 12 years old to take part in a study concerning sleep habits and social behaviors,” Wong said. “Results are private and confidential. No personal information will be linked to the data.”

Families interested in participating receive $25 for an initial screening and can receive up to $240 if eligible and participate in the full study. Activities for full participants include interviews, questionnaires, cognitive tests, wearing an activity watch, and sleep assessment, which includes spending two nights at the PMC Sleep Clinic where participants have an EEG (electroencephalogram) test done that measures their brain activity during sleep.

Wong leads a team of five collaborators including Shannon Lynch, chair of the ISU Department of Psychology, Kirk Brower, Deirdre Conroy and Robert Zucker from the University of Michigan and Tim Roehrs at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. There are also eight graduate and undergraduate students working as research assistants in the project.

If interested in participating in the study, call 208-228-5577 or email isusleepstudy@gmail.com. Callers should be sure to leave a phone number so that study staff can call back. More information about the study is available at www.isu.edu/sleepstudy.

Wong received her grant from the National Institute of Health (R01 AA020364). She also received a previous grant from the National Institute of Health (R21 AA016851) on a project examining the relationship between sleep and health.