Cognitive, Behavioural, Speech, Language and Developmental Outcomes Associated with Pathogenic Variants in the ERF Gene.
Care H., Luscombe C., Wall SA., Dalton L., Johnson D., Wilkie AOM.
ABSTRACT: Pathogenic variants of the ERF gene were previously associated with craniosynostosis, craniofacial dysmorphism and Chiari malformation. This study investigates cognitive, behavioural, speech, language, and developmental outcomes in the first 5 children identified at the Oxford Craniofacial Unit as having ERF-related craniosynostosis, together with three of their carrier parents.There were no consistent findings related to overall intelligence. However, a pattern of cognitive difficulties is described, which includes poor attention, impulsivity and difficulties with functional fine motor skills, such as handwriting. A high frequency of speech, language and communication difficulties was evident, which was most often related to early language difficulties, speech sound difficulties, hyponasal resonance and concern regarding social communication skills and emotional immaturity.It was common for these children to have needed input from ear, nose and throat services. Problems with tonsils and/or adenoids and/ or fluctuating conductive hearing loss were found which may be contributors to early speech, language and communication difficulties.The authors make recommendations regarding the need for formal assessment of a range of developmental aspects upon diagnosis of a pathogenic variant in the ERF gene. The aim of this report is to give clinical guidance to anyone who may have care of patients with the ERF-related mutation.