Background: Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), a disorder of unknown etiology, may occur in all age groups, but is most common in young obese women. Goals of treatment are to preserve vision and alleviate symptoms, including intractable headache, pulsatile tinnitus, and nausea. Cognitive function is not addressed routinely during clinical evaluation of IIH patients. The aim of our study was to test whether there is cognitive impairment in IIH patients and to evaluate the nature and characteristics of cognitive functions.
Methods: Design-Prospective cross-sectional observational study; Setting-Institutional;Study population-Thirty consecutive IIH patients (3 men and 27 women), mean age at time of testing was 34.4 years; Procedures-All participants completed a cognitive test battery; Outcome measures-Impairment of non-verbal memory, executive function, visual spatial processing, attention, motor skills, problem solving, and information processing speed in IIH patients.
Results: Mean scores for all domain index scores were below average for age and education. The global cognitive score, attention, and visual spatial indices had the lowest scores.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that patients with IIH have mild cognitive impairment. All domain measures apart from memory showed a statistically significant difference from normal individuals, indicating that there is a form of multidomain cognitive impairment in IIH. The relationship between cognitive impairment and chronically elevated intracranial pressures and its role in contributing to patient morbidity requires further study.