| What is Neurofibromatosis (NF)?
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). Neurofibromatosis 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
. 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, he or she cannot pass it on their children.
The NF1 gene was discovered in 1990.