Sleep disorders in children with incidental pineal cyst on MRI: a pilot study

Lourdes M. DelRosso, Kenneth Martin, Oliviero Bruni, Raffaele Ferri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: For several years, pineal cysts have been considered an incidental finding on brain MRI's even though research and case reports have shown a possible association of pineal cysts with headaches and sleep disturbances. This pilot study aims to evaluate sleep disorders in school-age children with an incidental pineal cyst in an otherwise normal brain MRI. Method: Children aged 6–12 years, who were referred for evaluation of headaches, tics, or syncope, and had an incidental pineal cyst on an otherwise normal brain MRI were included and compared to a control group of children with the same referral reasons but with a normal MRI and to a cohort of normal controls. The Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children (SDSC) was administered to the parents. Exclusion criteria included use of medications that affect sleep, seizures, brain abnormalities, tumors, or comorbid medical conditions that affect sleep. Results: Eighteen children (11 females) with pineal cysts, 19 children with normal MRI, and 100 age- and sex-matched controls were included in our study. There were statistically significant differences in the total SDSC score (with a difference of 10 between the median scores) and in two of the six domains of this scale. Children with pineal cysts scored significantly higher in the domains of disorders of excessive sleepiness and disorders of initiating and maintaining sleep than the two control groups. The scores in these two domains correlated significantly with the size of the cyst. Conclusion: School-age children with pineal cysts have significantly increased levels of sleepiness and difficulty with sleep initiation and maintenance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-130
Number of pages4
JournalSleep Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Children
  • Circadian
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Pineal cyst
  • Sleep disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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