Brain imaging and cognition in young narcoleptic patients

Yu Shu Huang, Feng Yuan Liu, Chin Yang Lin, Ing Tsung Hsiao, Christian Guilleminault*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

35 Scopus citations


The relationship between functional brain images and performances in narcoleptic patients and controls is a new field of investigation. We studied 71 young, type 1 narcoleptic patients and 20 sex- and age-matched control individuals using brain positron emission tomography (PET) images and neurocognitive testing. Clinical investigation was carried out using sleep–wake evaluation questionnaires; a sleep–wake study was conducted with actigraphy, polysomnography, multiple sleep latency test (MSLT), and blood tests (with human leukocyte antigen typing). The continuous performance test (CPT) and Wisconsin card sorting test (WCST) were administered on the same day as the PET study. PET data were analyzed using Statistical Parametric Mapping (version 8) software. Correlation of brain imaging and neurocognitive function was performed by Pearson's correlation. Statistical analyses (Student's t-test) were conducted with SPSS version-18. Seventy-one narcoleptic patients (mean age: 16.15 years, 41 boys (57.7%)) and 20 controls (mean age: 15.1 years, 12 boys (60%)) were studied. Results from the CPT and WCST showed significantly worse scores in narcoleptic patients than in controls (P < 0.05). Compared to controls, narcoleptic patients presented with hypometabolism in the right mid-frontal lobe and angular gyrus (P < 0.05) and significant hypermetabolism in the olfactory lobe, hippocampus, parahippocampus, amygdala, fusiform, left inferior parietal lobe, left superior temporal lobe, striatum, basal ganglia and thalamus, right hypothalamus, and pons (P < 0.05) in the PET study. Changes in brain metabolic activity in narcoleptic patients were positively correlated with results from the sleepiness scales and performance tests. Young, type 1 narcoleptic patients face a continuous cognitive handicap. Our imaging cognitive test protocol can be useful for investigating the effects of treatment trials in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-144
Number of pages8
JournalSleep Medicine
StatePublished - 01 08 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • 18-F FDG positron emission tomography
  • Brain image
  • Cognition
  • Hypermetabolism
  • Hypometabolism
  • Narcolepsy


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