American Asperger's Association Support Group

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Articles about AUTISM and SEIZURES

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1 Articles about AUTISM and SEIZURES on Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:03 am

csweepigirl

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Written by Stephen M. Edelson, Ph.D.
Center for the Study of Autism, Salem, Oregon
About one in four autistic individuals begin to have seizures during puberty. The exact reason for the onset of seizures is not known, but it is likely that the seizure activity may be due to hormonal changes in the body. Sometimes these seizures are noticeable, (i.e., associated with convulsions); but for many, they are small, subclinical seizures, and are typically not detected by simple observation.

Some possible signs of subclinical seizure activity include:


  • exhibiting behavior problems, such as aggression, self-injury, and severe tantrumming
  • making little or no academic gains after doing well during childhood and pre-teen years
  • and/or losing some behavioral and/or cognitive gains.

Personally, I have known a few autistic individuals who were considered high-functioning prior to puberty. During puberty, they experienced seizures which were not treated. By their late teens, they were considered, however, as low functioning.

Some parents have an EEG performed to see if their child shows any seizure activity. However, even if the EEG does not detect abnormal activity during the testing period, one cannot conclude that the person does not have seizures. To increase the likelihood of detection, some individuals are assessed with an EEG for 24 to 48 hours.

Interestingly, vitamin B6 with magnesium as well as dimethylglycine (DMG) are known to reduce or eliminate seizure activity in some individuals, even in cases where seizure drugs are ineffective. Note that the majority of autistic individuals do not have seizures during puberty. In fact, many parents have told me that their son/daughter actually experienced a dramatic developmental leap forward during this period.

Parents of autistic children should be aware of the possible positive and negative changes that can occur with puberty. Of particular importance is the need for parents to be cognizant of the fact that about 25% of autistic individuals may experience clinical or subclinical seizures which, if left untreated, can lead to deleterious effects.

The Autism Research Institute distributes an information packet on seizures/epilepsy.

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2 another article on Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:06 am

csweepigirl

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Autism and seizures. Seizures are present in almost 30% of patients with autism and can be (in the beginning) clinically inapparent and very resistant to treatment. Since seizures frequently appear later in the course of the disease, this might suggest that the tissue damage responsible for the symptoms of autism could be a continuing, progressive process (at least in its earlier stages). This progression increases the possibility of an outside factor ((infection, auto-immune reaction to an infection, toxins, etc.) being the cause. Ketogenic diet has been employed with some success in autistic patients with refractory (intractable) seizures, and IVIG has been used as the last resort in few of them.

csweepigirl

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Do symptoms of autism change over time?




For many children, autism symptoms improve with treatment and with age. Some children with autism grow up to lead normal or near-normal lives. Children whose language skills regress early in life, usually before the age of 3, appear to be at risk of developing epilepsy or seizure-like brain activity. During adolescence, some children with autism may become depressed or experience behavioral problems. Parents of these children should be ready to adjust treatment for their child as needed.

csweepigirl

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Possible Complications


Autism can be associated with other disorders that affect the brain, such as tuberous sclerosis, mental retardation, or fragile X syndrome. Some people with autism will develop seizures

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