Neurofibromatosis (NF) is a genetic disorder of the nervous system which causes tumors to form on the nerves anywhere in the body at any time. This progressive disorder affects all races, all ethnic groups and both sexes equally. NF is one of the most common genetic disorders in the United States (one in every 2,500 to 3,000 births). The neurofibromatoses affects more than 100,000 Americans; this makes NF more prevalent than Cystic Fibrosis, hereditary Muscular Dystrophy, Huntington’s Disease and Tay Sachs combined.
NF has three genetically distinct forms: NF-1, NF-2 and Schwannomatosis. They are caused by different genes and chromosomes. The effects of NF are unpredictable and have varying manifestations and degrees of severity. There is no known cure for any form of NF, although the genes for both NF-1 and NF-2 have been identified.
NF is an autosomal dominant genetic condition; it is not contagious. Approximately 50% of those affected with Neurofibromatosis have a prior family history of NF. The other 50% of cases are the result of spontaneous genetic mutation. If an individual does not have NF, s/he can not pass it on to his/her children.
Neurofibromatosis causes unchecked growth of tissue along the nerves. This can put pressure on affected nerves and cause pain, severe nerve damage, and loss of function in the area served by the nerve. Problems with sensation or movement can occur, depending on the nerves affected. The condition can be very different from person to person, even among people in the same family who have the NF1 gene.
The “coffee-with-milk” (cafe-au-laits) spots are the hallmark symptom of Neurofibromatosis. Although many healthy people have 1 or 2 small café-au-lait spots, adults with 6 or more spots greater than 1.5 cm in diameter are likely to have Neurofibromatosis. In most people with the condition, these spots may be the only symptom.
Diagnostic Criteria for NF 1
Two or more of the following:
Effects of NF 1
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF-1) is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on the covering of the nerves anywhere in the body at any time. The disorder affects 1 in 2,500 to 3,000 males and females of all races and ethnic groups. The NF-1 gene is located on chromosome 17.
Other symptoms may include:
For more information about neurofibromatosis, please visit: