Monday, May 9, 2016

Neurofibromatosis: A Long Word and Complicated Disease Made Simple


Q: What is Neurofibromatosis (NF)?
A: Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder of the nervous system which causes tumors to form on the nerves anywhere in the body at any time. It affects all races and both sexes equally. Approximately half of NF cases are inherited; the other half occur spontaneously.


Q: Are there different forms of NF?
A: Yes. There is NF1, NF2 and Schwannomatosis. They each affect the body in different ways.


Q: How common is NF?
A: NF1 is the most common, affecting roughly 1 of 2,500 births. NF2 is estimated to affect 1 of 25,000 births, and Schwannomatosis affects around 1 of 40,000 births.


Q: What are the most common symptoms of NF?
A: The hallmark of NF is tumor growth in the brain, spinal cord and nerves. In NF2 patients, these tumors often cause deafness, balance issues and pain. NF1 patients often suffer from bone abnormalities, learning disabilities, optic tumors (which may lead to blindness), and a multitude of other complications.


Q: Is there a treatment or cure for NF?
A: Not at this time. However, research is being conducted through the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense.


Q: How can I learn more about NF and get involved in the NF community?
A: Visit www.nfnetwork.org for national news and www.nfcentralplains.org for regional news.

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