Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common inherited disease affecting one in 3,500 individuals. The mutation rate in the NF1 gene is one of the highest known for human genes. Compared to other methods, the protein truncation test (PTT) and subsequent sequence analysis of cloned cDNA provides improved efficiency in detecting NF1 mutations that are dispersed throughout the gene spanning 350 kb of genomic DNA. Sequencing of cDNA of patients affected with NF1 mutations revealed multiple splicing errors. Since similar missplicings were also found in "aged" blood of healthy individuals, they are most likely attributable to a general decrease in splice site selection in aged blood. We show that restoring viability of lymphocytes before RNA extraction by cultivation and PHA stimulation diminishes aberrant splicing in aged blood and is thus useful to circumvent splicing alterations which are frequently compromising mutation detection in patient samples and mimic mutation-induced alterations of mRNA.