S07 Sleep and cognition in childhood: Slow waves, spike waves and a sound intervention


Sleep evolves dramatically over the course of infancy and childhood, in tandem with developmental progress. The examination of brain oscillations as captured on the sleep EEG provides insight into the trajectory of cortical maturation and the acquisition of developmental milestones.

Slow waves in particular may underlie the homeostatic regulation of synaptic plasticity, providing a mechanistic link between sleep and the consolidation of memory. This is well illustrated by studies in children with epilepsy, particularly epileptic syndromes with a strong activation of epileptic discharges during slow wave sleep - in which skills are lost while slow wave sleep is disrupted by epileptiform activity and recover on its restoration.

The possibility to modulate sleep slow oscillations by well tolerated non-invasive means has increased the clinical importance of these phenomena. New data show that the enhancement of slow waves with closed loop auditory stimulation can improve memory performance in children.

In this symposium, we illustrate the intimate relationship between sleep and cognition, using data from cohorts of healthy children as well as children with epilepsy and ADHD. We argue that understanding brain activity in pediatric sleep and its perturbation will be key to future sleep-based cognitive interventions.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this CME activity, participants should be able to:

      • Describe the evolution of slow wave dynamics and topology over the course of childhood, and how this relates temporally to the acquisition of key developmental milestones
      • Explain how slow waves may be disrupted with consequences to cognitive function, in childhood epilepsies
      • Explain how slow waves may be enhanced by auditory stimulation and the impact on memory performance in typically developing children and children with ADHD

Target Audience

Pediatricians with an interest in sleep in neurodevelopmental conditions including epilepsy and ADHD; Clinical psychologists with an interest in the cognitive outcomes of sleep perturbation


Samantha Chan (United Kingdom)

Riding the (brain)waves - trajectories of slow wave, cortical and behavioral maturation

Samantha Chan (United Kingdom)

Epilepsy, sleep and cognition: Slow waves and spike waves - the good and the evil

Bigna Bolsterli (Switzerland)

Boosting slow waves for memory? Auditory closed-loop stimulation in children with ADHD

Hong Viet Ngo (Netherlands)

Sleep and brain maturation: From descriptive studies to a neuromodulation approach

Reto Huber (Switzerland)

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software