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Study Finds Elevated Risk of Neurological Conditions in Individuals with NF1

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Researchers in the Washington University NF Center recently utilized the largest US private health insurance claims database to examine the potential association between NF1 and other chronic neurological problems. Using established diagnosis billing codes, Dr. Kimberly Johnson, PhD, MPH in the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University identified a group of 8,500 individuals with a diagnosis of NF1 to compare to a control (non-NF1) group of over 85,000 individuals.

Using this approach, they found that adults with NF1 had more healthcare claims related to epilepsy, migraine, headache, sleep disorders, multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson disease (PD).  In particular, people with NF1 reported epilepsy nine times more often than the control group. In addition, there was a two-fold higher frequency of sleep disturbances in adults with NF1.

Future studies are required to determine why people with NF1 are more likely to have other neurological problems.

Madubata CC, Olsen MA, Stwalley DL, Gutmann DH, Johnson KJ. Neurofibromatosis type 1 and chronic neurological conditions in the United States: an administrative claims analysis. Genet Med. 10.1038/gim.2014.70, 2014.