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Attention challenges in Kabuki syndrome.

BACKGROUND: Understanding the specific neurobehavioural profile of rare genetic diseases enables clinicians to provide the best possible care for patients and families, including prognostic and treatment advisement. Previous studies suggested that a subset of individuals with Kabuki syndrome (KS), a genetic disorder causing intellectual disability and other neurodevelopmental phenotypes, have attentional deficits. However, these studies looked at relatively small numbers of molecularly confirmed cases and often used retrospective clinical data instead of standardised assessments.

METHODS: Fifty-five individuals or caregivers of individuals with molecularly confirmed KS completed assessments to investigate behaviour and adaptive function. Additionally, information was collected on 23 unaffected biological siblings as controls.

RESULTS: Attention Problems in children was the only behavioural category that, when averaged, was clinically significant, with the individual scores of nearly 50% of the children with KS falling in the problematic range. Children with KS scored significantly higher than their unaffected sibling on nearly all behavioural categories. A significant correlation was found between Attention Problems scores and adaptive function scores (P = 0.032), which was not explained by lower general cognitive ability.

CONCLUSIONS: We found that the rates of children with attentional deficits are much more elevated than would be expected in the general population, and that attention challenges are negatively correlated with adaptive function. When averaged across KS participants, none of the behavioural categories were in the clinically significant range except Attention Problems for children, which underscores the importance of clinicians screening for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children with KS.

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