Infants who have neurofibromatosis type 1, a genetic condition linked to autism, show motor difficulties and communication delays at 10 months of age, according to the first study to thoroughly characterize these babies1.
The work suggests that motor problems are central to neurofibromatosis type 1, or NF1, and may also be critical to autism. About one in four children with neurofibromatosis also has autism.
NF1 is characterized by benign tumors on nerves. Signs of the condition are often evident at birth or soon after, as characteristic spots on the skin. The study is small but suggests that children with the condition also have developmental challenges that start in infancy.