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May 17, 2023 - 00:00

The month of May is National Neurofibromatosis (NF) Awareness Month.

NF is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerve tissues. They can grow anywhere in your nervous system, including on your brain and spinal cord. It can also cause optic glioma, and Lisch nodules, bone deformities, learningdisabilities, fine and gross motor skills delays, multiple Café au lait spots, and other things.

There are 3 types of NF. NF 1, NF 2, and Schwannomatosis. NF 1 is the most common and affects 1 in 3000 people of all races and genders. 50 % of the people with NF inherited it and a spontaneous mutation on a very-long arm of chromosome- 17 results in the other 50 percent.

In April 2020, the FDA approved a drug called Selumetinib that can shrink plexiform tumors in individuals two years old and older. With continued research maybe one day there will be a cure for NF.

Sheila Zavorka