Purpose: Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a rare monogenic disorder associated with executive function (EF) deficits and heightened risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The goal of this paper is to understand how EFs provide a common foundation to understand vulnerabilities for ADHD and ASD within NF1.

Methods: A literature review and synthesis was conducted.

Results: EF difficulties in working memory, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, and planning are evident in NF1, ADHD, and ASD. However, relatively little is known about the heterogeneity of EFs and ADHD and ASD outcomes in NF1. Assessment of ADHD and ASD in NF1 is based on behavioral symptoms without understanding neurobiological contributions. Recent efforts are promoting the use of dimensional and multidisciplinary methods to better understand normal and abnormal behavior, including integrating information from genetics to self-report measures.

Conclusion: NF1 is a monogenic disease with well-developed molecular and phenotypic research as well as complementary animal models. NF1 presents an excellent opportunity to advance our understanding of the neurobiological impact of known pathogenic variation in normal and abnormal neural pathways implicated in human psychopathology. EFs are core features of NF1, ADHD, and ASD, and these neurodevelopmental outcomes are highly prevalent in NF1. We propose a multilevel approach for understanding EFs in patients with NF1.This is essential to advance targeted interventions for NF1 patients and to advance the exciting field of research in this condition.



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URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/psycd_fac/71