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Autistic children "more likely to have epilepsy"

17 December, 2001

Children with autism have a higher than average risk of epilepsy according to a new report.

Researchers from the State University of New York-Stony Brook studied EEG recordings of 38 children with autism and found that 14 of the group (37 per cent) also had epilepsy.

This small group finding concurs with previous studies that showed 30 per cent of children with autism also have epilepsy.

However, lead author Dr John Pomeroy has warned against performing routine EEG tests on children with autism, saying that unless there is evidence of seizures, there is rarely epileptic-type activity revealed in the EEG.

It was also noted that that other behaviours seen in children with autism, such as breath-holding spells and episodes of rage, rarely relate to epilepsy and were not related in any children in this study.