EEG abnormalities and epilepsy in 57 children (86% male), mean age 82 +/- 36.2 months, with autistic spectrum disorders and their association with clinical, psychiatric, developmental, and familial risk factors were examined at Marmara and Acibadem Universities, Istanbul, Turkey. A diagnosis of autism was made in 68%, PDD in 26%, and high-functioning autism in 5%. EEG recordings were 1 hour, sleep and/or awake. Sleep only EEGs were obtained in 86% of patients; 95% with autism, 60% with PDD, and 100% for those with high functioning autism. Awake EEGs were obtained in 40% of children with PDD but only 5% of those with autism. Interictal epileptiform EEG abnormalities (IIEAs) were present in 24.6% (n=14), and epilepsy was diagnosed in 14.2% (n=8, complex partial in 4). IIEAs were associated with the diagnosis of epilepsy (P=0.0001), hyperactive behavior (Childhood Autism Rating Scale Activity scores, P=0.047), and a history of asthma and allergy (P=0.044). Epilepsy was associated with a family history of epilepsy (P=0.049) and psychiatric problems in the mother during pregnancy (P=0.0026). Eleven patients were taking AEDs, in 8 for epilepsy (4 in remission) and 3 for behavioral symptoms. Psychotropic medication was used in 44% of patients, risperidone in one half of these. [1]

COMMENT. Studies cited by the authors show that the frequency of epilepsy in autism varies from 4% to 42%, and that of interictal epileptiform EEG abnormalities in ASD without seizures is between 6% and 74%. [2, 3]