Over the past several years, it has become more widely recognized that children with NF1 have behaviors shared with individuals with autism. Recent work spearheaded by Dr. John Constantino in the Division of Child Psychiatry at Washington University has provided new information about the types of autism-like features seen in children with NF1.
Examining over 100 children with NF1 cared for in the Washington University NF Center, Dr. Constantino found that over 40% of children displayed autistic features along with impairments in social behavior and attention. In contrast to autism occurring in the general population, they discovered that both boys and girls with NF1 were equally affected. Moreover, there was a strong familial association amongst individuals with NF1.
Future studies are focused on understanding the genetic risk of developing autism in children with NF1. Learn more about Dr. Constantino’s groundbreaking work in this brief video.
Constantino JN, Zhang Y, Holzhauer K, Sant S, Long K, Vallorani A, Malik L, Gutmann DH. Distribution and Within-Family Specificity of Quantitative Autistic Traits in Patients with Neurofibromatosis Type 1. J Pediatr. 2015; doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.04.075.