Intellectual Disability in Children Likely Not Attributable to Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy may not help anything, but in some cases it does not hurt. Specifically, researchers found that narcolepsy was not the cause of intellectual disabilities in children. The study titled “Intellectual Abilities of Children with Narcolepsy” by Thieux M, Zhang M, Marcastel A, et al originally published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine and summarized at detailing research from Hopital Femme Mere Enfant in France. 

Clinicians sought to investigate high cognitive functioning children with narcolepsy to determine whether it was a protective factor for school and behavioral difficulties in this population. “This retrospective study included all children with idiopathic narcolepsy (N=74) observed in a national reference center for narcolepsy in France from 2010 to 2019,” writes Jessica Nye, PhD. Patients were evaluated for clinical characteristics and underwent neuropsychological evaluation. Parents of the children responded to four questionnaires which assessed their child’s sleepiness and insomnia severity.” 

According to Nye, study researchers concluded that, “the present results suggest that narcolepsy in children is unlikely to be a cause of intellectual disability  despite their frequent school difficulties. Neuropsycological evaluation could help these children to find adapted support.” They added that “the prompt diagnosis and management of comorbidity such as obesity and OSA could improve cognitive performances and decrease school and behavioral difficulties in these children.”


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