Eur J Hum Genet. 2022 Jul 20. doi: 10.1038/s41431-022-01149-z. Online ahead of print.
Children with neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) may have a high burden of somatic disease and cognitive impairments, which can lead to poor academic performance. We evaluated school grades from exams ending mandatory schooling (usually around age 15 or 16 years) of children with NF1 in a population-based registry study using a within-school matched design. The study included 285 children with NF1 and 12,000 NF1-free peers who graduated from the same school and year during 2002-2015. We estimated overall and gender-specific grades by subject and compared the grades of children with NF1 with those of NF1-free peers in linear regression models. We also examined the effect of social and socioeconomic factors (immigration status and parental education, income and civil status) on grades and age at finalizing ninth grade. School grades varied considerably by socioeconomic stratum for all children; however, children with NF1 had lower grades by an average of 11-12% points in all subjects. In the adjusted models, children with NF1 had significantly lower grades than their NF1-free peers, with largest negative differences in grades observed for girls with NF1. Finally, children with NF1 were 0.2 (CI 0.1-0.2) years older than their peers on graduating from ninth grade, but only maternal educational modified the age at graduating. In conclusion, students with NF1 perform more poorly than their peers in all major school subjects. Gender had a strong effect on the association between NF1 and school grades; however, socioeconomic factors had a similar effect on grades for children with NF1 and their peers.