Handedness at a young age and unusual birth marks might be an indication of the rare condition neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a doctor said.
Chou I-ching (周宜卿), director of the neurology division at China Medical University Children’s Hospital, said that a one-year-old girl was diagnosed with NF1 last month after her parents observed right-handedness when she was 11 months old.
The parents saw that she had a tendency to use her right hand most of the time, Chou said. Despite her left hand seeming to have normal strength, she rarely used it and did not spread her fingers or grip things with it.
Photo: Tsai Shu-yuan, Taipei Times
The parents observed that their daughter almost always held her milk bottle in her right hand, and climbed or reached exclusively with it, she said.
They took her to a doctor and she was referred to a medical center for further examination, which showed that the baby had abnormal marks and a tumor on the basal ganglia on the right side of her brain, Chou said.
The marks were smaller than 5mm and not easy to detect, but were abnormal, she said.
An ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging scan revealed a hamartoma on her brain and NF1 was confirmed after a blood test, she said.
The right basal ganglia is associated with voluntary motor movements, language learning and other nerve functions, so the tumor might affect movement in the left hand, Chou said.
However, surgery to remove the tumor is not possible, she said.
Handedness usually starts to develop from age two, as infants’ brains do not begin separating tasks between the two cerebral hemispheres until then, Chou said.
Parents should look for consistent handedness in children under the age of two, because it might be a sign of disease, injury, malnutrition, brain structure anomalies, brain malformation or other problems that might respond to early treatment, she said.
As NF1 is a genetic neurological disorder, multiple tumors might develop in other parts of the body, she said, adding that early treatment might improve movement in the child’s left hand, while her learning and cognitive development would be tracked to prevent developmental delay.
Approximately one in 20,000 people are affected by NF1, which is caused by a gene mutation, Chou said.
People with the condition are likely to develop multiple light-brown marks on their skin as they grow, she said.
They also have higher risk of developing fibromata — benign tumors composed of fibrous or connective tissue — and learning disabilities, she said, adding that NF1 is an autosomal dominant disorder, so although the parents did not have the disease, any children they might have face a 50 percent chance of inheriting the condition.
FAMILY FEUD: Weng Jen-hsien, who was convicted of killing six people in 2016, was the second prisoner to be executed since President Tsai Ing-wen took office A death row inmate was executed on Wednesday, less than a year after he was convicted of killing six people by setting fire to his home. Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he signed the order and the death sentence was carried out on Wednesday afternoon in New Taipei City. The Supreme Court on July 10 last year sentenced 53-year-old Weng Jen-hsien (翁仁賢) to death after he was convicted of killing his parents, niece, nephew and nephew’s wife and his parents’ caregivers. Weng set fire to his home in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) on Feb. 7, 2016, after a family feud
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: The central government is offering subsidies to hotels to house people who have been ordered to undergo 14-day home quarantine Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) yesterday elaborated on the rules for “social distancing” and said that the government is providing subsidies to encourage more hotels to become quarantine hotels. Chen on Tuesday urged the public to practice social distancing by keeping at least 1m apart outdoors and 1.5m apart indoors. If maintaining such distances is not possible due to confined or crowded spaces, then everyone should wear a mask, Chen yesterday told a daily news briefing at the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) in Taipei. The center also suggested that people avoid exhibitions, sports events, concerts and other social
STRENGTH IN UNITY: The Executive Yuan respects KMT legislators’ viewpoints, but has no comment on calls for the premier to step down, spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday accused Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of treating the Legislative Yuan with disdain and demanded that he apologize or step down for saying that KMT Legislator Chen Yu-jen (陳玉珍) is unfit for her job. Prior to a question-and-answer session at the legislature on Tuesday, Su was asked by reporters to comment on Chen’s remark on Monday that Taiwan is not a country. “Then she is not qualified to be a lawmaker,” the premier said. Chen made the remark during a question-and-answer session with Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通), when she asked him about his view
At a campground in Nantou County, a team of women are using ropes to shimmy up a towering seven-story tall Chinaberry tree, fighting their fear of heights and reconnecting with nature. Tree climbing remains somewhat niche in Taiwan, but a growing number of women are embracing the challenge thanks to the island’s first international certified female climber arborist. Sylvia Hsu (許芢涵), 26, said she was inspired to set up her own women-only tree climbing classes after seeing the popularity of similar gatherings in Europe. “A women-only camp is a more relaxed environment,” she said. “I was hooked on trees after my first climb...