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Mortality rate is increased in persons with autism who also have epilepsy
Date:4/14/2011

New York, N.Y. (April 15, 2011) A comprehensive investigation of brain tissue donated to the Autism Speaks Autism Tissue Program (ATP), a postmortem brain tissue donation program, determined that one-third of the brain donors with autism also had epilepsy, and co-morbidity data from the California State Department of Developmental Services revealed a higher than expected rate of mortality in individuals with both autism and epilepsy than for individuals with autism alone.

"Mortality in Individuals With Autism, With and Without Epilepsy," published today in the Journal of Child Neurology, reported that 39 percent of the confirmed cases of autism from ATP donations also had a confirmed diagnosis of epilepsy, which is significantly higher than the estimated rate of epilepsy among the general autism population. The study also reported that data from the California State Department of Developmental Services demonstrated a higher than expected rate of mortality in individuals with autism and epilepsy than autism alone. These data are consistent with past reports. The paper concluded that when epilepsy and autism occurred together, the mortality rates increased by more than 800 percent.

"This study highlights the importance of early identification of epilepsy in children with autism and of autism in children with epilepsy," said Roberto Tuchman, MD, pediatric neurologist at Miami Children's Hospital and member of the Autism Speaks Scientific Advisory Council. "The findings of this study should motivate the autism and epilepsy communities to increase their understanding of the risk factors and common mechanisms that can lead to epilepsy, autism, or both epilepsy and autism. Understanding these early determinants will allow for the development of effective interventions and preventive measures and ultimately better outcomes for children with autism and epilepsy."

It is well established that epilepsy is a major medical disorder that
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Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
Autism Speaks
Source:Eurekalert  

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