STUDY OBJECTIVES: To ascertain the presence of cognitive and attention problems in treatment naïve children with narcolepsy type 1 (NT1) and to explore whether children recently diagnosed with NT1 improve with respect to cognition and attention problems 1 year after regular treatment for NT1. METHODS: A total of 15 treatment naïve children (7-15 years) with recently diagnosed NT1 were recruited from three sleep medicine centers in the Netherlands. The control group consisted of 15 healthy children, being frequency matched on age and gender. Both groups were investigated at baseline to examine intelligence profile (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children [WISC] III), attention problems, and processing speed (Bourdon Vos and sustained attention to respond task [SART]). These tests were repeated in children with NT1 1 year after regular (behavioral and medication) treatment for NT1. RESULTS: Children with NT1 scored significantly lower on the verbal scale and processing speed subscale of the WISC III, showed more fluctuations in reaction time of the Bourdon Vos and made more mistakes during the SART than the healthy control group at baseline. Children with NT1 significantly improved on total IQ score, and on the WISC indices processing speed, and perceptual organization 1 year after treatment. At follow-up, test scores of treated children were largely comparable to those of the control group at baseline. CONCLUSIONS: Children with NT1 show improvement in several cognitive domains 1 year after start of treatment. Our findings stress the need for early detection and treatment of narcolepsy in childhood.
- narcolepsy with cataplexy