J Clin Neurol.  2013 Apr;9(2):118-124. 10.3988/jcn.2013.9.2.118.

Is High IQ Protective Against Cognitive Dysfunction in Narcoleptic Patients?

  • 1Department of Neurology, Sleep Center, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Samsung Biomedical Research Institute (SBRI), Seoul, Korea. smcsbhong@naver.com
  • 2Department of Psychology, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.


AND PURPOSE: The aims of this study were to elucidate the cognitive functions of narcoleptics and determine whether intelligence protects against cognitive dysfunction and depressive mood in these patients.
Sixty-six subjects (33 narcoleptics, 33 controls) were administered a battery of neuropsychological tests and an individual standardized intelligence test. The cognitive functions of the narcoleptic patients and the healthy controls were compared, as were those of high-IQ and mid-to-low-IQ narcoleptic patients.
Narcoleptics exhibited significantly lower scores in the Corsi Block-Tapping Test forward and backward, and the digit symbol tests, and significantly higher Beck Depression Inventory scores than the controls. However, verbal attention, verbal-visual long-term memory, and executive function task scores did not differ significantly between patients and controls. The mid-to-low-IQ patient group had lower mean digit span backward test, phonemic and semantic fluency Controlled Oral Word Association Test and Korean version of the Boston Naming Test scores, and a higher total score and general depressive symptoms subscales Beck Depression Inventory score than the high-IQ patient group. However, controls exhibited no IQ-related differences in cognitive performance or depressive mood. Patients in the high-IQ group exhibited impaired visual attention and working memory as compared with controls.
The findings of the present study show that narcolepsy patients have deficits in visual attention and visual working memory, and tend to feel more general depressive symptoms but not somatic symptoms than their control, nonnarcoleptic counterparts. In addition, it appears that higher intelligence protects against cognitive dysfunction and depressive mood.


narcolepsy; memory; attention; cognitive function; intelligence; neuropsychological test
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