Cognitive and psychological functioning in focal dermal hypoplasia

Kathleen K M Deidrick, Martha Early, Jordan Constance, Margot Stein, Timothy J Fete
American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part C, Seminars in Medical Genetics 2016, 172C (1): 34-40
Focal dermal hypoplasia (FDH) is a condition caused by heterozygous mutation of the PORCN gene on chromosome Xp22.3. It impacts the primitive ectoderm and mesoderm, affecting skin, teeth, nails, hair, musculoskeletal development, and vision and hearing. To date, there has been no systematic research examining the psychoeducational impact of the disorder. The current study examined emotional, behavioral, adaptive, and intellectual ability in 17 subjects with ages ranging from 3 to 55 with FDH attending the 2013 Annual Family Conference of the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias. Findings suggested overall average functioning in all areas. However, wide variability was noted in this sample, with 3 participants (18%) exhibiting overall cognitive ability in the borderline to impaired range. These findings are consistent with previous reports suggesting intellectual impairment in 15% of persons with FDH. Similarly, a subgroup of children was rated by parents as exhibiting difficulties with behavior (2 out of 11; 18%) and emotions (5 out of 11; 45%). Of particular concern was withdrawn behavior, reported by 65% of parents. These findings suggest that clinicians should routinely screen persons with FDH to rule out cognitive and emotional/behavioral difficulties and offer timely treatment. Future research should focus on identifying risk factors for psychoeducational problems in this population.

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