Monday, August 05, 2013

Study: One in eight children with autism also has epilepsy

A new study shows that one out of eight children with autism also has epilepsy which may help to diagnose those at a higher risk for epilepsy.

One in eight children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) also has epilepsy, a study has found.
Researchers at Brown University in the US conducted an investigation to determine the prevalence of epilepsy among children with ASD, a range of related developmental disorders that affect about one in every 100 children.
They analyzed data on 5,815 children with ASD to see how many also had epilepsy.
In addition, they looked at the youngsters’ demographic and clinical characteristics to see if there were any differences between those with and without epilepsy.
Analysis revealed that 12.5 per cent (one in eight) of children with ASD, aged two to 17 years, had epilepsy.
This proportion rose to 26 per cent among children aged 13 and older.
The researchers observed that epilepsy was more common in older children and youngsters with lower cognitive ability, as well as those with poorer adaptive and language functioning.
Other factors that were associated with an increased risk of epilepsy included a history of developmental regression and severe ASD symptoms.
However, only age and cognitive ability were independently associated with epilepsy risk.
For instance, children aged ten and over were 2.35 times more likely to be diagnosed with epilepsy than younger patients, while the chances of having epilepsy fell by 47 per cent for every standard deviation increase in IQ.
Publishing their findings in the journal PLoS One, the study authors claimed that theirs is one of the largest studies to date to look at the co-occurrence of epilepsy in patients with ASD.
“Based on a representative sample of children with ASD, the average prevalence of epilepsy is approximately 12 per cent and reaches 26 per cent by adolescence,” they revealed.
The study authors confirmed that independent associations were found between epilepsy and older age and lower cognitive ability, but that other risk factors – such as poor language and developmental regression – “are not associated with epilepsy after controlling for IQ”.
They concluded: “These findings can help guide prognosis and alert clinicians to patients with ASD who are at increased risk for epilepsy.”
Read more here

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