Executive dysfunction in children with neurofibromatosis type 1: a study of action planning.
ABSTRACT In this study, we tested the hypothesis that action planning is impaired in children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). Thirty-six children with NF1 were pair-matched to 36 healthy controls (HC) on age (range, 7-12 years), sex, and parental education level, and both groups were administered three action-planning tasks. To examine the relation of task performance to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the NF1 group was divided into subsets of children who met or did not meet criteria for ADHD. Children with NF1 performed less well than HC on all planning tasks, and differences remained when controlling for IQ or a measure of visuospatial skill. Both the NF1 with ADHD subset and NF1 without ADHD subset performed more poorly than HC on two of the tasks, whereas only the NF1 with ADHD subset performed worse than HC on the third planning task. The results underscore the importance of evaluating executive function in children with NF1 and suggest that deficits in this domain may be only partially related to ADHD. Planning deficits in children with NF1 may be part of their cognitive phenotype. Identifying these deficits is relevant in determining factors contributing to learning problems and in developing appropriate interventions.
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a monogenic disorder associated with cognitive impairments. In order to understand how mutations in the NF1 gene impact brain structure it is essential to characterize in detail the brain structural abnormalities in patients with NF1. Previous studies have reported contradictory findings and have focused only on volumetric measurements. Here, we investigated the volumes of subcortical structures and the composite dimensions of the cortex through analysis of cortical volume, cortical thickness, cortical surface area and gyrification. METHODS: We studied 14 children with NF1 and 14 typically developing children matched for age, gender, IQ and right/left-handedness. Regional subcortical volumes and cortical gyral measurements were obtained using the FreeSurfer software. Between-group differences were evaluated while controlling for the increase in total intracranial volume observed in NF1. RESULTS: Subcortical analysis revealed disproportionately larger thalami, right caudate and middle corpus callosum in patients with NF1. Cortical analyses on volume, thickness and surface area were however not indicative of significant alterations in patients. Interestingly, patients with NF1 had significantly lower gyrification indices than typically developing children primarily in the frontal and temporal lobes, but also affecting the insula, cingulate cortex, parietal and occipital regions. CONCLUSIONS: The neuroanatomic abnormalities observed were localized to specific brain regions, indicating that particular areas might constitute selective targets for NF1 gene mutations. Furthermore, the lower gyrification indices were accompanied by a disproportionate increase in brain size without the corresponding increase in folding in patients with NF1. Taken together these findings suggest that specific neurodevelopmental processes, such as gyrification, are more vulnerable to NF1 dysfunction than others. The identified changes in brain organization are consistent with the patterns of cognitive dysfunction in the NF1 phenotype.Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 02/2013; 5(1):3. · 3.45 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) is a common genetic condition associated with cognitive dysfunction. However, the pathophysiology of the NF1 cognitive deficits is not well understood. Abnormal brain structure, including increased total brain volume, white matter (WM) and grey matter (GM) abnormalities have been reported in the NF1 brain. These previous studies employed univariate model-driven methods preventing detection of subtle and spatially distributed differences in brain anatomy. Multivariate pattern analysis allows the combination of information from multiple spatial locations yielding a discriminative power beyond that of single voxels. Here we investigated for the first time subtle anomalies in the NF1 brain, using a multivariate data-driven classification approach. We used support vector machines (SVM) to classify whole-brain GM and WM segments of structural T(1) -weighted MRI scans from 39 participants with NF1 and 60 non-affected individuals, divided in children/adolescents and adults groups. We also employed voxel-based morphometry (VBM) as a univariate gold standard to study brain structural differences. SVM classifiers correctly classified 94% of cases (sensitivity 92%; specificity 96%) revealing the existence of brain structural anomalies that discriminate NF1 individuals from controls. Accordingly, VBM analysis revealed structural differences in agreement with the SVM weight maps representing the most relevant brain regions for group discrimination. These included the hippocampus, basal ganglia, thalamus, and visual cortex. This multivariate data-driven analysis thus identified subtle anomalies in brain structure in the absence of visible pathology. Our results provide further insight into the neuroanatomical correlates of known features of the cognitive phenotype of NF1. Hum Brain Mapp, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.Human Brain Mapping 09/2012; · 6.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The parent and teacher forms of the French version of the Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) were used to evaluate executive function in everyday life in a large sample of healthy children (N = 951) aged between 5 and 18. Several psychometric methods were applied, with a view to providing clinicians with tools for score interpretation. The parent and teacher forms of the BRIEF were acceptably reliable. Demographic variables (such as age and gender) were found to influence the BRIEF scores. Confirmatory factor analysis was then used to test five competing models of the BRIEF's latent structure. Two of these models (a three-factor model and a two-factor model, both based on a nine-scale structure) had a good fit. However, structural invariance with age was only obtained with the two-factor model. The French version of the BRIEF provides a useful measure of everyday executive function and can be recommended for use in clinical research and practice.Child Neuropsychology 04/2014; · 2.24 Impact Factor