The Key Search Subtest of the Behavioural Assessment of the Dysexecutive Syndrome in Children (BADS-C) Instrument Reveals Impaired Planning Without External Constraints in Children With Neurofibromatosis Type 1

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Abstract

Studies of executive function and its relationship with brain T2-weighted hyperintensities in children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) have yielded inconsistent results. We examined 16 children with NF1 aged 8 to 15 years, of normal intelligence, and compared their findings to those of 16 siblings and 16 typically developing children using the Behavioural Assessment of the Dysexecutive Syndrome in Children (BADS-C). NF1 patients had an adequate overall score at BADS-C, but showed significantly lower performance than typical peers in the Key Search subtest. This is a task that must be solved without any given rules, in which subjects must devise a strategy and an efficient search pattern transferable to other similar real situations. The Key Search scores were not correlated with number and signal characteristics of T2-weighted hyperintensities. Planning without external indications is impaired in children with NF1 because they have to rely entirely on self-organization and monitoring; this study provides information for remediation programs designed to improve functioning in daily life.

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