Your browser does not support javascript:   Search for gard hereSearch for news-and-events here.

Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Print friendly version

Neurofibromatosis type 1


Other Names for this Disease
  • NF1
  • Recklinghausen's disease
  • Type 1 neurofibromatosis
  • Von Recklinghausen disease
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.


Your Question

Is there a relationship between neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and epilepsy or mood disorders? Also, do individuals with NF1 or NF2 have a normal life expectancy?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

Is there a relationship between neurofibromatosis type 1 and epilepsy?

The prevalence of seizures in individuals with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) has been reported to range from 3.8 to 6%.[1] However, in an article published in 2003 in the Journal of Child Neurology, the investigators reported that out of 198 patients affected by NF1, fourteen patients (7%) were found to be epileptic. In nine (64%), epilepsy was secondary to brain lesions such as cerebral tumors, cortical malformation (abnormalities in the development of the cerebral cortex), and mesial temporal sclerosis (the loss of neurons and scarring of the temporal lobe). The authors of this study reported that their findings indicate that patients with NF1 have an increased risk of epilepsy related to intracranial masses (masses within the skull) and other abnormalities.[1]
Last updated: 5/31/2011

Is there a relationship between neurofibromatosis type 1 and mood disorders?

Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is often associated with psychiatric disorders, which are reportedly more frequent in NF1 than in the general population (33% of patients). Dysthymia (a chronic type of depression) has been reported as the most frequent diagnosis. There is also a high prevalence of depressive mood, anxiety, and personality disorders. The risk of suicide is reportedly four times greater than in the general population. Bipolar mood disorders or schizophrenia appear to be rare. The impaired quality of life associated with NF1 may play an important role in the development of psychiatric disorders in individuals with the condition.[2]
Last updated: 5/31/2011

What is the life expectancy for individuals with neurofibromatosis type 1 or 2?

Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a progressive disorder, which means most symptoms will worsen over time, although a small number of people may have symptoms that remain constant. It is not possible to predict the course of an individual’s disorder. In general, most people with NF1 will develop mild to moderate symptoms. Most people with NF1 have a normal life expectancy.[3]

Because neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) is so rare, few studies have been done to look at the natural progression of the disorder. The course of NF2 varies greatly among individuals, although inherited NF2 appears to run a similar course among affected family members. Generally, vestibular schwannomas grow slowly, and balance and hearing deteriorate over a period of years. A recent study suggests that an earlier age of onset and the presence of meningiomas are associated with greater mortality risk.[3]
Last updated: 5/31/2011

References