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J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 1996 Dec;18(6):784-92.

MRI and nonverbal cognitive deficits in children with neurofibromatosis 1.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, IWK Children's Hospital, Nova Scotia, Canada.


Magnetic resonance imaging brain scans and neuropsychological assessments of 17 children who met the NIH consensus diagnostic criteria for neurofibromatosis Type 1 were carried out in order to determine if there is a relationship between presence of high intensity signal abnormalities on MRI scans and nonverbal cognitive deficits. Cranial MRI scans in 10 patients (58.8%) demonstrated high intensity signal abnormalities, most frequently in the cerebral peduncles. Fifteen patients had nonverbal cognitive deficits (88.2%), including difficulty judging the orientation of lines, matching complex visual stimulus configurations, recalling pictures of faces, as well as copying and drawing from memory a complex geometric figure. There was not a significant association between nonverbal neuropsychological deficits and presence of high intensity signal abnormalities on MRI scans, possibly because the location of these hyperintense abnormalities was typically below the level of the basal ganglia. These findings suggest that the high intensity signal lesions seen on the MRI scans of children with neurofibromatosis Type 1 do not predict or explain their nonverbal cognitive deficits.

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