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Neurofibromatosis type 1 and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a case study and literature review

Authors Miguel C, Chaim-Avancini TM, Silva MA, Louzã MR

Received 27 September 2014

Accepted for publication 8 December 2014

Published 25 March 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 815—821

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S75038

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Carmen Sílvia Miguel, Tiffany M Chaim-Avancini, Maria Aparecida Silva, Mario Rodrigues Louzã

Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Program (PRODATH), Institute of Psychiatry, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Background: The cognitive profile of children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been well characterized, but few studies have evaluated the cognitive abilities of adults with NF1 and ADHD.
Objectives: We investigated 1) the cognitive profile of an adult patient with NF1 and inattention problems, 2) changes in his cognition after 14 months of follow-up, and 3) whether the patient exhibited comorbid NF1 and ADHD or secondary ADHD-like symptoms.
Methods: We administered neuropsychological tests of executive function, attention, verbal and visual memory, visuospatial function, and language during two evaluations separated by 14 months.
Results: We found no changes in sustained attention, language, or verbal memory. Visual memory, verbal learning, selective attention inhibitory control, and problem solving declined over time, whereas visual search, psychomotor speed, visuospatial function, and mental flexibility improved.
Conclusion: Our patient exhibited a cognitive profile characteristic of both NF1 and ADHD, leading to the hypothesis that the patient had comorbid ADHD instead of secondary ADHD-like symptoms. More studies are necessary to characterize the cognition of patients with NF1 and ADHD.

Keywords: ADHD, executive function, NF1, low-grade pontine glioma, cognition

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