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 one year after regular treatment for NT1.
Fifteen 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 (WISC III), attention problems and processing speed (Bourdon Vos and SART). These tests were repeated in children with NT1 one year after regular (behavioral and medication) treatment for NT1.
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 one year after treatment. At follow-up, test scores of treated children were largely comparable to those of the control group at baseline.
Children with NT1 show improvement in several cognitive domains one year after start of treatment. Our findings stress the need for early detection and treatment of narcolepsy in childhood.
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