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What are the symptoms of neurofibromatosis?

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Symptoms of neurofibromatosis 1 include six or more light brown skin spots, soft bumps beneath the skin, bone deformities, small bumps on the iris of the eye and learning disabilities, according to Mayo Clinic. Neurofibromatosis 2 produces symptoms including balance issues, gradual hearing loss and ringing in the ears.

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The soft skin bumps in neurofibromatosis 1 patients result from neurofibromas, which are benign tumors that can develop anywhere in the body but are most often located under or inside the skin, states Mayo Clinic. If a neurofibroma affects multiple nerves in the body, it is called a plexiform neurofibroma. The light brown skin spots these patients also exhibit are called cafe au lait spots; they are medically harmless but sometimes create cosmetic concerns. Examples of bone deformities that may occur with NF1 include bowed legs and scoliosis. Children diagnosed with NF1 sometimes fit the criteria for specific learning disorders, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or they may have general difficulties with certain skills, such as language skills.

NF2 is a much rarer form of neurofibromatosis, according to Mayo Clinic. The symptoms of NF2 are usually associated with benign tumors called vestibular schwannomas that grow on the eighth cranial nerve. This nerve is responsible for transmitting information about sound and balance from the inner ear to the brain.

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