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Epilepsy and Electroencephalography in Autism Spectrum Disorders 

Chapter:
Epilepsy and Electroencephalography in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Author(s):

Roberto Tuchman

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780195371826.003.0026

This chapter reviews studies on the prevalence of epilepsy and epileptiform activity in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The wide range of co-occurrence of seizures and epileptic activity is dependent on multiple variables that include age, presence of genetic syndrome or underlying brain pathology, and degree of intellectual disability. The best estimate of the prevalence on epilepsy in ASD is 8% in ASD without significant intellectual disability and 20% in ASD with intellectual disability. The prevalence of epileptiform activity in individuals with ASD and no clinical history of seizures is approximately 6% to 30% and is dependent on the type of electroencephalography (EEG) study done, the length of the EEG recording, methodology specific to collecting and interpretation of EEGs, and the specific population of children with ASD being studied. The prevalence of epilepsy and of epileptiform activity is significantly higher—greater than 50%—in those with severe intellectual disability, genetic syndromes, and other associated brain pathology. An emerging consensus is that shared genetic and molecular mechanisms account for the common co-occurrence of ASD and epilepsy.

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