Skip to main content

Psychological and neurophysiological dysfunctioning during wakefulness in narcolepsy

  • J. Beullens (a1) and B. van Sweden (a2)

Memory complaints and altered states of consciousness with automatic behaviour of narcoleptic patients indicate cognitive dysfunctioning. Although more problems arise while performing attention tasks than memory tasks, the neuropsychological test inquiry doesn't indicate one particular neuropsychological function as consistently impaired. They often perform well because they compensate impaired wakefulness by an increased willingness to respond. Neurophysiological research indicates that the sometimes occurring cognitive dysfunction is associated with a waxing and waning between wakefulness and sleep. The increased psychopathology is partly a reflection of, partly a reaction to the symptoms. The impact of hypersomnia on psychosocial functioning is more important than that of epilepsy in epileptics. In severe cases smoking and driving should better be dissuaded.

Corresponding author
Academisch Centrum voor Huisartsgeneeskunde, K.U. Leuven, Minderbroedersstraat 17, B-3000 Leuven, België
Hide All
1.Rosenthal, LD, Merlotti, L, Young, DK, Zorick, FJ, Wittig, RM, Roehrs, TA, Roth, T. Subjective and polysomnography characteristics of patients diagnosed with narcolepsy. Gen Hosp Psychiatry 1990; 12: 191–7.
2.Aldrich, MS. Narcolepsy. N Engl J Med, 1990; 323: 389–94.
3.Mitler, MM, Hajdukovic, R, Erman, M, Koziol, JA. Narcolepsy. J clin Neurophysiol 1990; 7: 93118.
4.Verhoeven, WMA. Narcolepsie; een “slapend ziektebeeld”? Acta Neuropsychiat 1991; 3: 57.
5.Van Sweden, B. Narcolepsie. Tijdschr Geneesk 1992; 48: 939–45.
6.Kales, A, Soldatos, CR, Bixler, EO, Caldwell, A, Cadieux, RJ, Verrechio, JM, Kales, JD. Narcolepsy-cataplexy. II. Psychosocial consequences and associated psychopathology. Arch Neurol 1982; 39: 169–71.
7.Aldrich, MS. Automobile accidents in patients with sleep disorders. Sleep 1989; 12: 487–94.
8.Douglas, AB, Hays, P, Pazderka, F, Russell, JM. Florid refractory schizophrenias that turn out te be treatable variants of HLA-associated narcolepsy. J nerv ment Dis 1991; 179: 12–7.
9.Valley, V, Broughton, R. The physiological (EEG) nature of drowsiness and its relation to performance deficits in narcoleptics. Electroencephalogr clin Neurophysiol 1983; 55: 243–51.
10.Aguirre, M, Broughton, R, Stuss, D. Does memory impairment exist in narcolepsy-cataplexy? J clin exp Neuropsychol 1985; 7: 1424.
11.Levander, S, Sachs, C. Vigilance performance and autonomic function in narcolepsy: effects of central stimulants. Psychophysiology 1985; 22: 2431.
12.Godbout, R, Montplaisir, J. All-day performance variations in normal and narcoleptic subjects. Sleep 1986; 9: 200–4.
13.Rogers, AE, Rosenberg, RS. Tests of memory in narcoleptics. Sleep 1990; 13: 4252.
14.Henry, GK, Satz, P, Heilbronner, RL. Evidence of a perceptual-encoding deficit in narcolepsy? Sleep 1993; 16: 123–7.
15.Schulz, H, Wilde-Frenz, J. The disturbance of cognitive processes in narcolepsy. J Sleep Res 1995; 4: 10–4.
16.Loiseau, P, Strube, E, Broustet, D, Battellochi, S, Gomeni, C, Morselli, PL. Learning impairment in epileptic patients. Epilepsia 1983; 24: 183–92.
17.Beullens, J. Gaat narcolepsie gepaard met een geheugenstoornis? Een Literatuurstudie. Tijdschr Orthoped Kinderpsychiat klin Kin-derpsychol 1994; 19: 7888.
18.Halgren, E, Smith, ME. Cognitive evoked potentials as modulatory processes in human memory formation and retrieval. Hum Neurobiol 1987; 6: 129–39.
19.Birbaumer, N, Elbert, T, Cavanan, AGM, Rockstroh, B. Slow potentials of the cerebral cortex and behavior. Physiol Rev 1990; 70: 141.
20.Van Nunen, PEH, Declerck, AC. Cognitive function revealed by P300 in patients suffering from EDS or epilepsy. In: Coenen, A, ed. Sleep-wake Research in the Netherlands. Utrecht: Elinkwijk, 1993: 161–6.
21.Teyler, TJ, DiScenna, P. The hippocampal memory indexing theory. Behav Neurosci 1986; 100: 147–54.
22.Meador, KJ, Loring, DW, King, DW, Gallagher, BB, Gould, MJ, Flanigin, HF, Smith, JR. Limbic evoked potentials predict site of epileptic focus. Neurology 1987; 37: 494–7.
23.Puce, A, Kalnins, R, Berkovic, SF, Donnan, GA, Bladin, PF. Limbic P3 potentials, seizure localization, and surgical pathology in temporal lobe epilepsy. Ann Neurol 1989; 26: 377–85.
24.Broughton, RJ, Aguirre, M. Differences between REM and NREM sleepiness measured by event-related potentials (P300, CNV), MSLT and subjective estimate in narcolepsy-cataplexy. Electroencephalogr clin Neurophysiol 1987; 67: 317–26.
25.Dodrill, CR. Neuropsychology of epilepsy. In: Filskov, SB, Boll, TJ, eds. Handbook of Clinical Neuropsychology. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1981: 366–95.
26.Webb, WB, Agnew, HW. The effects of a chronic limitation of sleep length. Psychophysiol 1974; 11: 265–74.
27.Volk, S, Simon, O, Schulz, H, Hansert, E, Wilde-Frenz, J. The structure of wakefulness and its relationship to daytime sleep in narcoleptic patients. Electroencephalogr clin Neurophysiol 1984; 57: 119–28.
28.Dantz, B, Edgar, DM, Dement, WC. Circadian rhythms in narcolepsy: studies on a 90 minute day. Electroencephalogr clin Neurophysiol 1994; 90: 2435.
29.Amira, SA, Johnson, TS, Logowitz, MB. Diagnosis of narcolepsy using the MSLT: analysis of current laboratory criteria. Sleep 1985;8:325–31.
30.Mignot, E, Mishimo, S, Valtier, D, Renand, A, Guilleminault, C, Dement, WC. Pharmacological control of narcolepsy. In: Home, J, ed. Sleep '90. Bochum: Pontenagel Press, 1990: 409–15.
31.Hermann, BP, Whitman, S. Behavioral and personality correlates of epilepsy: a review, methodological critique and conceptual model. Psychol Bull 1984; 95: 451–97.
32.Broughton, RJ, Guberman, A, Roberts, J. Comparison of the psychosocial effects of epilepsy and narcolepsy/cataplexy: a controlled study. Epilepsia 1984; 25: 423–33.
33.Roy, A. Psychiatric aspects of narcolepsy. Br J Psychiat 1976; 128: 562–5.
34.Sachs, C, Levander, S. Personality traits in patients with narcolepsy. Pers Indiv Diff 1981; 2: 319–24.
35.Okawa, M, Matousek, M, Petersen, I. Spontaneous vigilance fluctuations in the daytime. Psychophysiol 1984; 21: 207–11.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Acta Neuropsychiatrica
  • ISSN: 0924-2708
  • EISSN: 1601-5215
  • URL: /core/journals/acta-neuropsychiatrica
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 12 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 316 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 17th August 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.